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For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals

Quick Take: HP Escalates The Branded Bare-Metal Network Switch War

HP And Others Pursue The Lucrative Hyperscale Market

February 19, 2015

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Similar to Dell's announcement in 2014, HP just announced plans to offer three HP-branded bare-metal (BBM) switches built on Broadcom's Trident II application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). More switches will come later in the year. While HP's portfolio already includes Broadcom-based switches, these switches won't come with HP's Comware or ProVision network operating system software. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals will have to either turn to third-party network operating system (OS) options such as Big Switch's Switch Light OS and Cumulus Networks' Cumulus Linux OS; create their own, like Facebook did; or purchase Cumulus Linux OS through HP Technology Services. HP has geared this solution to hyperscale companies, which prefer bare-metal and white-box switches. Even though this won't have immediate and direct impact on the general enterprise I&O organizations, HP's launch highlights three important aspects: 1) Enterprises will have a better understanding of what they are paying for when they buy any switch; 2) Swiss Army knife switches are splintering into industry-specific hardware; and 3) even web-scale providers don't want to take on all the services and value traditional networking vendors offer.

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