3Com is planning to shake up the enterprise networking market with the global launch of its high-end H3C product line which it says offers the same power and performance as competitive switches, but on an open platform and at a fraction of the price.


Derek Wiggill, regional sales director at 3Com Africa, says the timing of the announcement is particularly relevent in terms of the global economic downturn.
"Everyone is conscious of money, price:performance and energy consumption right now," he says, adding that the H3C products are designed to address these concerns.
The 3Com product line, which targets small to medium installations, is also being refreshed. The H3C line-up picks up for the big enterprise-level networks that 3Com doesn't cover.
"We aim to be disruptive with this technology," says Wiggill. "H3C has been successful in the Chinese market and has been designed from the ground up, with the oldest product in the range being five years old."
H3C grew out of a joint venture between 3Com and Huawei, leveraging the design and manufacturing strengths of the Chinese partner. Wiggill points out the H3C employs 2 600 PHd-level engineers who are responsible for designing and developing the advanced products in China, where manufacturing is also more cost-effective.
"The company is also highly responsive to customers," says Wiggill. "It engineers according to what customers want and need."
And the response has been phenomenal, he adds, with customers around the world impressed at the H3C performance and pricing levels.
As the technology is made available across the globe, the company has announced some new products to the line-up.
Top of the range is the new, extensible data centre switching platform, the H3C S12500 data centre aggregation and high-end enterprise core switch.
the S12500 is built on a modern system architecture that delivers 2,2-billion packets per seond of forwarding through a 6,6 Terabits per second non-blocking fabric, with up to 128 non-blocking 10-Gigabit or 864 non-blocking Gigabit Ethernet ports.
It offers 50% lower power consumption that competitive products.
The new switching platform is managed with the new H3C ene-to-end enterprise-class management solution, Intelligent Management Centre (IMC).
IMC provides single-pane management of the entire heterogenous enterprise network infrastructure and integrates with existing systems to deliver increased efficiency and value.
3Com has also launched its first flex-chassis enterprise switch family, the H3C S5800 Series.
The S5800 offers exceptional port density, with up to 192 10-Gigabit portsd or 640 Gigabit Ethernet ports and supports extensible application services including security, wireless and monitoring.
it is designed to enhance network reliability, lower TCO and improve application delivery.
It can function as a modular chassis as well as a fixed form stackable switch.
H3C products have been available in South Africa for just under a year, via an exclusive partnership between 3Com and Lefatshe.
Additional partners may be added to the channel, but it would be on an invitation-only basis, and partners would be expected to make big investments in training and certification.