Data center-class switches: A buyer's guide
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Editor's note: This product overview is part of a series on data center-class switches and examines what to look for when getting ready to purchase them. This vendor-specific product overview provides additional information about the features of HP's FlexFabric 12500 data center-class switches.
The HP FlexFabric 12500 is a line of data center switches for an enterprise IT environment with a high level of virtualization. The switch series has three models: the 12518, 12504 and 12508. The 12508 and 12518 also have "E" versions, which have some differences in performance from the "non-E" versions. "E" versions usually have higher performance and switching capacity.
All three models are non-blocking Layer 2- and Layer 3-compliant, and are software-defined networking-ready with support for the OpenFlow 1.3 protocol. Additional features in the FlexFabric 12500 series include hot-swappable components.
HP FlexFabric 12518
The FlexFabric 12518 is the largest switch in the series and supports 18 open module slots. It supports a maximum of 864 GbE ports, 864 1/10 GbE ports, 288 40 GbE ports, 72 100 GbE ports, or any combination thereof. The switch has a maximum throughput of 8.64 billion packets per second (Bpps) and a maximum switching capacity of 13.3 terabits per second (Tbps).
The 12518E version has a maximum throughput of 10.8 Bpps and a maximum switching capacity of 24.3 Tbps. Both editions of the 12518 also have nine switch fabric module slots, a maximum power draw of 10.7 kVA (kW) and a maximum thermal output of 32859 BTU/hour.
HP FlexFabric 12508
The FlexFabric 12508 supports eight open module slots, with a maximum of 384 GbE ports, 384 1/10 GbE ports, 128 40 GbE ports or 32 100 GbE ports. It has a maximum throughput of 3.84 Bpps and a maximum switching capacity of 13.3 Tbps.
The 12508E version has a maximum throughput of 4.8 Bpps and a maximum switching capacity of 6.12 Tbps. Both versions of the 12518 support nine fabric slots. Both the 12508 and 12508E have a maximum power draw of 4.75 kW and a maximum thermal output of 14587 BTU/hour.
HP FlexFabric 12504
The FlexFabric 12504 supports four open module slots and has a maximum of 192 GbE ports, 192 1/10 GbE ports, 64 40 GbE ports or 16 100 GbE ports. It has a maximum throughput of 1.92 Bpps and a maximum switching capacity of 3.24 Tbps. The switch supports four switch fabric slots, has a maximum power draw of 2.38 kW and a maximum thermal output of 8123 BTU/hour.
All three switch models in the FlexFabric 12500 series have two management module slots, use a PowerPC primary CPU at 1.80 GHz and have 8 GB of memory. They all mount in a 19-inch rack or equipment cabinet and support hot-swappable hardware.
The switches are also all compatible with HP's in-service software upgrade program, limiting downtime due to service upgrades. The 12500 series switches are available for either alternating current or direct current (AC and DC models are otherwise identical).
Pricing and support
Pricing for the FlexFabric 12500 series is not disclosed and depends on the modules and cards chosen. The chassis-only list price is $60,000 for the 12518E; $25,000 for the 12518 and 12508E; $13,000 for the 12508; and $7,000 for the 12504. HP offers a one-year warranty with advance replacement and 10 calendar day delivery. Electronic and telephone support is also available from HP's website.