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HP looks to transform networking

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London – Reaping the rewards of acquisitions such as 3Com, HP Networking has fired a broadside at its competitors, particularly Cisco, with the launch of its FlexNetwork architecture for data centres, campuses and branches.

At the launch of the new unified architecture in Las Vegas, Dave Donatelli, senior vice-president and GM, WW HP ESSN, says that the networking industry has long been overdue a major overhaul.
"We said we wanted to transform the market and today we will see that," Donatelli says. "This is a market that has lacked competition and legacy networks have held customers up from doing what they want and taking advantage of things like social media and mobility.
"It is time that changed," he says, "and HP is here to lead that change."
Donatelli says there are three key pillars to HP's networking strategy: competition, innovation; and easier management.
"Competition is a good thing – it helps with innovation and it helps keep everyone on their toes," he says. "If you look back over the last 10 years, this market has suffered from a lack of competition and the customer has paid the price. So competition is a key pillar.
"Secondly," Donatelli says, "innovation. Networking hasn't kept up with the rest of the industry and we believe that it needs a lot more innovation."
The third pillar, he adds, is making networks easier to manage.
"We talk to a lot of customers and most of them say that their biggest problem in the data centre is how to efficiently manage all their assets on their own networks," Donatelli says. "We believe that network management should be simple and a lot easier for customers.
"So strong competition, strong innovation and easy management is how we are going to transform this market," Donatelli says.
HP says that its FlexNetwork architecture is the industry’s only unified architecture for the data centre, campus and branch, which enables enterprises to fully harness the power of media-rich content, virtualisation, mobility and cloud computing. It increases the flexibility of IT infrastructure by enabling clients to deploy solutions based on modular building blocks and open industry standards to focus on business innovation and avoid vendor lock-in.
It says that FlexNetwork architecture converges network silos by ensuring protocols are implemented consistently across all networked devices throughout an enterprise. As a result, clients are able to simplify and speed service delivery across the data centre, campus and branch, driving increased agility and innovation.
The company says that single-vendor, proprietary approaches such as Cisco’s, lock in customers while driving up cost and complexity with different architectures required at each point in the network, including data centre, campus and branch. This lack of convergence and increased complexity make it difficult to roll out new applications and services.
The HP FlexNetwork architecture unifies the network through three modular building blocks that share a common management layer.
* FlexFabric – simplifies data centre infrastructure with converged network, compute and storage resources across both virtual and physical environments to accommodate hybrid cloud computing models.
* FlexCampus – improves performance, lowers latency and increases security for identity-based access of multimedia content across converged wired and wireless networks.
* FlexBranch – extends and simplifies network and security at the branch, integrating best-of-breed technologies for service delivery.
FlexManagement  eliminates the complexity of multiple management systems with single-pane-of-glass management across the HP FlexNetwork architecture.