HP has taken its first steps into the converged networking market by announcing (16th September) new 10GbE switch interconnect modules for their HP BladeSystem (ie: C3000, C7000 chassis). These new switches, the ProCurve 6120, are the first from the ProCurve product line specifically for the HP BladeSystem enclosure.
The ProCurve 6120 comes in two models – the G/XG and the XG. From the HP ProCurve site:
“The ProCurve 6120G/XG Blade Switch is a robust layer 2 enterprise-class switch with advanced management and security features. Its Gig/10Gb uplinks allow for flexible network architectures with simplified cable deployments and operational expense savings.
The ProCurve 6120XG Blade Switch provides high-performance, full 10G connectivity for up to 16 blade servers in a single HP c-Class BladeSystem enclosure, plus an assortment of 10Gb uplink options, all with an extensive layer 2 enterprise-class feature set.”
So what are the main differences between the models? The 6120G/XG is aimed at those businesses who don’t want to go all the way at this stage, or don’t have the budget, to implement total 10Gb connectivity. This is achieved by providing 4 x 1Gb Ethernet uplinks whilst at the same time giving a couple of 10Gb uplink options.
The 6120XG with its multiple 10Gb uplinks is being pitched by HP as being Converged Enhanced Ethernet "CEE ready" whilst offering future support (according to HP – once the standard has been finalised) for the emerging Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol. The 6120XG therefore offers 10Gb connectivity that can be used today whilst proving an element of future proofing for using FCoE.
The release of the 6120 begins to see HP making a move into the converged networking market which puts them in the arena with a formidable competitor, Cisco and their Unified Computing System (UCS). I recommend reading this thought provoking article by Floyd Strimling who proposes that the release of these HP switches will see the start of HP giving Cisco a good run for their money on many levels.
For more information on either model of the 6120 switch check out the product pages here: