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HP updates 5400 Series switches with more performance for software-defined networking

25 Jun 2014
HP 5400R zl2 SDN Switch

HP has updated its 5400 Series of network switches with greater performance and capabilities in order to enable customers to take greater advantage of software-defined networking (SDN), the firm said.

Available now, the HP 5406R zl2 and HP 5412R zl2 features a redesigned application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that delivers 30 percent greater performance. Along with support for 10Gbps uplinks and 40Gbps planned, the new switches offer both the performance and bandwidth required for greater use of SDN, according to HP.

Farhad Ghoreishi, product marketing manager for HP Networking, told V3: "The existing 5400 series has been an extremely successful platform because of its scalability and ability to consolidate the networking fabric with wireless control and integrating applications to include network services, all in one platform."

Now, HP is continuing to add value to the platform by enabling customers to upgrade seamlessly to a more capable version when they refresh their network hardware.

While the 5400 Series was already enabled for SDN via the OpenFlow protocol, the performance and bandwidth boost offered in the new hardware will enable customers to make better use of these capabilities going forwards, Ghoreishi added.

In a small to medium-sized business (SMB), one of these switches will play "a major role in the network", possibly forming the network core, while in a larger enterprise it is more suited for consolidation at the edge, Ghoreishi said, and is often found in "more modest campus data centres".

Both the new models are modular rack-mount switches, with the 5406R zl2 delivered as a 4U enclosure with six open module slots, while the 5412R zl2 is a 7U enclosure with 12 open module slots. The latter is capable of supporting up to 288 ports at speeds up to 1Gbps, and supports Power over Ethernet (PoE).

The module slots are typically fitted with a network module, offering Ethernet ports or wireless capability, while a management module provides administrator control via HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) software.

The third type of module is a service module, essentially a small server that enables customers to deploy network applications and services directly in the switch.

One potential application of the service modules is to operate a built-in Microsoft Lync Gateway, providing a branch office with the ability to failover to the built-in Lync if their connection to the corporate data centre goes down. This capability was demonstrated at HP's Discover event in 2013, Ghoreishi said.

One reason for the popularity of the 5400 Series is its cost-effectiveness, offering 43 percent lower total cost of ownership than comparable rival products, Ghoreishi claimed.

"There are no hidden licences involved for this environment. To switch on features, you don't need to purchase any licences. You also have a lifetime warranty in there, including technical support," he said.

The HP 5406R zl2 and HP 5412R zl2 switches are available worldwide for $2,419 (£1,425) and $4,599 (£2,709), respectively.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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