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HP pushes integration with new Blade Switches

HP adds networking infrastructure to its blade product line, following industry moves to tighter integration both of products and business units

The networking arm of HP has announced the availability on 1 October of two new networking switches, the 1Gbps HP ProCurve 6120G/XG Blade Switch and the 10Gbps 6120XG Blade Switch.

The company said the new products can be integrated with existing HP blade server systems to help customers have more complete control over the networking and data-management aspects of their datacentres.

"The integration of HP ProCurve Networking blade switches with the HP BladeSystem infrastructure is a pivotal change for HP as the company aggressively diverges itself from the competition," said Nick Lippis, president of analyst firm Lippis Enterprises, in a statement.

HP ProCurve also announced it had added Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability to its 8200 and 5400 Ethernet switch families, aimed at unified communications and video-surveillance system users looking to reduce costs and power consumption.

In January, HP ProCurve launched a datacentre networking push, introducing switches and management software, and enlisting technology vendors as networking allies. Rene Yandell, a business manager for HP ProCurve, told ZDNet UK that the business unit was now a fully integrated part of HP.

Simon Robinson, research director at analyst firm The 451 Group, said the announcement by HP was symptomatic of increasing competition around the datacentre following Cisco's decision earlier this year to target the market. "Major IT systems vendors are now looking for organic differentiation as erstwhile partners — in HP's case Oracle and Cisco — turn increasingly competitive.

"As part of this, HP's ProCurve business unit is taking a more prominent role as the glue that binds together the strands of HP's server, storage and management software portfolio."

HP also announced a firmware update to its virtualisation server management system Virtual Connect, which the company claims should help ease the complexity associated with managing numerous virtual servers. "Virtual sprawl has been an ongoing challenge for customers, adding unnecessary complexity and management costs that take valuable resources away from business innovation," said Marius Haas, senior vice president and general manager, HP ProCurve.