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HP Expands Its EDGE Offerings

Hoping to gain more traction in the networking devices marketplace, Hewlett-Packard Monday took the wraps off new hardware and software from its ProCurve product line.

The offerings are also designed to unseat 3Com and catch up to Cisco Systems .

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said its new line of Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers it says are designed to give intelligent control to the edge of the network.

HP ProCurve's new Gigabit offerings include the HP ProCurve Switch 2800 series of managed stackable Gigabit Ethernet products including Switch 2824 (USD$2,499), with 20 10/100/1000 ports and four dual-personality ports for 10/100/1000 or mini-GBIC connectivity; and Switch 2848 (USD$4,899), with 44 10/100/1000 ports plus four dual-personality ports for 10/100/1000 or mini-GBIC connectivity. With Layer 3 IP static routes, the Switch 2824 and Switch 2848 offer VLAN to VLAN connectivity across a routed network for secure group communication. The Switch 2800 series also offers industry-leading security with standards such as SSL, SSHv2, SNMPv3, 802.1X, TACACS+ and RADIUS server support.

In addition to stackable switches, HP ProCurve Networking also announced Gigabit Ethernet modules for the Switch 4100gl series and the Switch 5300xl series. HP also announced new capabilities for the Switch 5300 series. These upgrades include: IP multicast routing using the PIM Dense routing protocol; 802.1s Multi-Instance Spanning Tree for high link availability in multiple VLAN environments; and Web-based authentication providing client authentication in a browser-based environment.

The company said its 5300 series is the cornerstone of the HP ProCurve Adaptive EDGE Architecture. HP's Adaptive strategy competes with IBM's "eBusiness on demand," and Sun Microsystems' "N1" strategies.

But with ProCurve, HP has other fish to fry. Against Cisco and 3Com, HP is currently ranked number 3 in global market share for networking devices and number 2 in U.S. markets.

One trick HP says it has up its sleeve is new management software to run its ProCurve Networking devices. The new Windows-based HP ProCurve Manager and HP ProCurve Manager Plus are designed to run in the network center with control to the network edge.

Beginning Nov. 1, HP said its "Manager" platform will be included with the purchase of any managed HP ProCurve switch, along with a 30-day trial version of the "Plus" software. The full version retails for USD$1,999.

Both versions support the ability to run network status summary; alerts and troubleshooting; automatic device discovery; topology and mapping; and device management.

HP ProCurve Manager Plus adds in advanced VLAN management; easier configuration management; in-depth traffic analysis; device software updates; advanced scheduling; and improved group and policy management.

"The traditional strategy of handling authentication and enforcing access policies at the network core must evolve as the burden of handling every request becomes unmanageable," HP ProCurve general manager and vice president John McHugh said in a statement. "Today's architectures must utilize the network edge to provide security, mobility and simple, manageable access to multiple services on a single network -- all while maintaining complete control from the network center. Command from the center will enable enterprises to continually update their networks in a cost-effective and manageable way -- without continual redesign and expensive hardware and software upgrades."