HP Launches HP FlexNetwork Virtualization Enhancements
At VMworld 2011, HP is proving it still has some muscle. Despite the uncertain fate of HP’s PSG, HP is completely ramping up its virtualized networking and management efforts. I spoke to HP’s director of marketing Mike Nielsen about the new FlexNetwork architecture and how the channel fits in …
“What we’re announcing is a combination of virtualization systems, storage and networking. We’re really focused from a channel perspective on the HP smart bundles, which are much more applicable to the channel,” and additionally, can help partners add on services for their customers, said Nielsen. The massive new lineup includes the following upgrades, all geared toward improved virtualization and cloud computing:
- HP 5800 and 12500 series switches – with 48 and 96 ports, respectively, these switches are built on HP’s FlexFabric and Virtual Connect technology, using virtualization to eliminate “unnecessary network layers” and allowing for speedy VM and application performance by “flattening the network architecture from three tiers to two or one tier. “
- Virtual Connect 3.3 firmware update – HP has improved Virtual Connect’s capabilities to handle an increased amount of virtual LANs and load per server. HP has also made it easier for IT admins to tweak all the knobs behind the scenes with more visibility into the hardware and VM’s relying on it.
- HP Intelligent Management Center 5.1 – HP has created a “single pane of glass” management tool for dealing with mixed (virtual and physical) data center environments. IMC 5.1 comes equipped with better transparency in determining how the virtualization infrastructure is operating and managing hardware overhead.
In regard to the channel, Nielsen said, “… we’re at a pace of radical change right now, and the industry is going through a shift I haven’t seen in 15 years. Customers are in a state where they may not have the capacity or the skills to do the next generation of data center buildout. And that’s where partners come into play. It’s not going to happen fast enough unless the partners come in, engage and accelerate. “
It looks as though partners need to be engaging the SME, or at least the upper-end of the SMB. The price tag on the HP 5830 is set to start at $11,990, with IMC 5.1 slated for a fall release at $6,995. HP’s 12500 switch and Virtual Connect 3.3 are being readied for a September 2011 release with no price yet announced.