HP Provides Smaller Bait For Its Switch

HP expanded its ProCurve series of stackable Ethernet switches with smaller and quieter entries designed for areas not very friendly to the hum and buzz of traditional network machines.

The ProCurve Switch 2810, 1800 Series and 2510-24 switches feature a fan-less and reduced noise design to appeal to small—and medium-size customers that may not have a dedicated IT department and want to place the systems directly in an office or classroom.

They also put a low-end spin on a series of high-end stackable switches introduced by the ProCurve Networking group in February, which included the 5400 and 3500 Series devices, said Darla Sommerville, vice president and general manager of ProCurve Americas.

“These new systems complement our existing stackable product line, but they are not directly replacing any of the current stackable products,” Sommerville told internetnews.com.

That may be the official line, although improvements in this latest series of stackable systems could make them more attractive to large-scale users who want to sprinkle connectivity throughout a company and to different workgroups.

The 1800 Series switches, for example, are the first from the ProCurve Networking group to sport an intuitive Web-based user interface.

This lets users manage activities and tweak the configuration over the Web and discover and map different devices, explained Kristin Pierce, Worldwide and Americas Product marketing manager.

“Not supporting SNMP [simple network management protocol] is the key thing that makes this a Web-managed product,” said Pierce. “With a Web interface, you can set an IP address and configure some features so you have more features than with an unmanaged device.”

The new switches are Layer 2 managed devices that provide secure 10/100/1000 Ethernet connectivity and slots for fiber connectivity for longer-distance uplinks.

The 1800 Series is also a cost-effective entry into “gigabit connectivity,” with prices ranging from about $200 to $500 for 8G and 24G models, compared with pricing in the thousands for higher-end devices, according to HP data.

Each switch series, however, offers different capabilities for specific classes of users and applications.

The ProCurve Switch 2810 Series, for example, is designed for applications’ advanced traffic prioritization, flexible user authentication or extensive traffic-monitoring capabilities in their networks.

These switches can also handle bandwidth-hungry applications such as graphical data, video streams, large database activity and data storage, said HP.

The ProCurve Switch 2510-24 is a 24-port device that is designed for open spaces or public areas, and has two 10/100/1000 ports for server connectivity or stacking and two optional gigabit Mini-GBIC slots for fiber connectivity.

The ProCurve Networking 2810 and 1800 Series ships Sept. 1, while the 2510-24G is available Sept. 15.

HP decided to go smaller and quieter with its stackable switches after talking with its direct and channel customers.

Many want to install switches into workplace environments, where noise from computer systems must be kept to a minimum, said Mike Verdugo, Worldwide Segment marketing manager.

Right now, about 90 percent of ProCurve switch sales go through the channel, while the remainder is split between direct sales and through resellers.

The strong demand for fixed-gigabit Layer 2 switches is another reason why the ProCurve Networking by HP group decided to hedge their bets across a wider user base.

The market is expected to grow to $1.85 billion by 2009, said Synergy Research Group’s Katie Trippet.

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