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Will a new HP Networking data center strategy emerge at Interop 2011?

Attendees may hear about a new HP Networking data center strategy at Interop Las Vegas 2011. Will new technology mean HP Networking's recent growth is sustainable?

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David Donatelli, Executive Vice President and General Manager of enterprise servers, storage and networking for HP

Eyes are on HP Networking for several reasons, not the least of which is its rapid networking market share growth this year (30% year-over-year to be exact). HP Networking has made a name for itself for less-expensive network hardware pricing aimed to hit pricey competitor Cisco Systems below the belt. But many question whether HP Networking's rapid growth is inflated because of the 3Com acquisition in 2010. Many also question what's next for the HP Networking data center strategy, considering that competitors ranging from Juniper Networks to Cisco seem to have more complete network fabric solutions.

What's more, since HP acquired 3Com and promised the lightening-speed integration of HP ProCurve and 3Com products under the HP Networking moniker, questions persist over integration, network management and product overlap.

Interop attendees will look for HP’s David Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager of enterprise servers, storage and networking, to address these issues during his Interop Las Vegas 2011 keynote this week. Specifically, the networking industry wants to know whether HP Networking will present real competition and sustainable growth.

Donatelli talked to before Interop about networking competition, plans for addressing product overlap, a new HP Networking data center strategy and managing the mythical single-vendor network.

What will you discuss during your Interop keynote?

David Donatelli: My discussion will focus on how HP is fundamentally transforming the networking market, providing customers with more innovative technology. Networking is changing. For the first time in more than a decade, there is real competition in the networking industry. HP is one of only two vendors to have double-digit share in switching. This increased competition is good for customers. It encourages faster and better innovation, promotes more attentive suppliers and ensures solutions are offered at a better overall value.

In the last two years, HP Networking has grown faster than the market. According to data from the Dell’Oro Group, HP’s switching business grew three times as fast as the market through 2009 and 2010, and we are taking share from our competitors.

What trends do you think are emerging as the hot topics at Interop?

Donatelli: The convergence of traditional IT is certainly a hot topic. Additional hot topics are cloud computing, virtualization, mobility and social media. These trends are fueling a revolution of business innovation across all industries. HP is at the forefront of helping organizations succeed with HP Networking innovations built to harness the potential of these powerful trends.

What networking products will HP showcase at Interop?

Donatelli: We have several exciting new products we are introducing that address the most pressing issues facing customers. Our products will span the data center, campus and branch. We have innovated with high-performance, low-latency products, and we will continue to drive advancements in network management.

Customers are facing new challenges associated with the cloud and virtualization as well as the explosion of mobile devices and data. Networks are currently weighed down by legacy architectures and technologies that were built for basic connectivity, not for the sophisticated demands of the market today. We will introduce products and technologies specifically designed for these new complexities.

HP has made a name for itself with competitive pricing on switching and the lifetime warranty. As other vendors move into network-wide solutions for the data center, is this a strategy HP Networking can continue to pursue?

Donatelli: We believe that we offer the best networking products in the industry, and that is why customers are switching to HP. We have several key differentiators that combine to deliver increased value to our customers. Some examples are the following:

  • HP was the first to deliver a fabric technology— the Intelligent Resilient Framework, across our full line of data center switches—that allows multiple switches to be virtualized and operate as a single switch.
  • We led the market with the first high-performance mobility solution that delivers 15 high-definition video streams for a single access point.
  • We were the first to implement the Energy Efficient Ethernet standard from the IEEE, lowering power consumption by 35%.
  • Most importantly, we are the only networking vendor to deliver a single-pane-of-glass management application for enterprise networks that can even manage our competitors’ gear better than they do.

All this superior technology is offered at a better total cost of ownership that we are able to sustain due to our scale, as well as the breadth of our industry-leading technology offerings that span the entire enterprise market. In fact, networking is a part of a broader enterprise strategy called HP Converged Infrastructure that unifies networking, servers and storage. We have seen incredible growth in our business due to the success of this strategy.

Every major networking vendor has unveiled a new vision for data center network fabrics over the last 18 months. HP has been quiet on this subject, with the exception of its FlexFabric, which is a rack-level I/O solution. When will HP unveil its new data center vision and what will it look like?

Donatelli: On May 9 at Interop Las Vegas, we will announce innovations that will address the most critical challenges facing customers today in networking. Stay tuned.

Critics say there is too much confusing product overlap between the 3Com/H3C and ProCurve portfolios. What can HP do to address the confusion?

Donatelli: One of the benefits of the 3Com acquisition was that its product portfolio was largely complementary to the HP ProCurve products. 3Com filled a gap in the data center, which is a critical element of our strategy. There is a minor amount of overlap in the campus that we are addressing through product lifecycle and roadmap decisions.

The real complexity in the market is around management of the mythical “single-vendor” network. One of our competitors requires as many as 30 different management tools across its ‘single-vendor’ portfolio. This adds complexity, cost and maintenance overhead to customer networks.

HP has standardized on its Intelligent Management Center (IMC) to deliver customers the simplicity of a single-pane-of-glass management across our networking portfolio. During HP’s IT transformation, where we have standardized on HP Networking products in our six data centers, we reduced network complexity and simplified management, which has saved time and money.

How is the 3Com/HP integration progressing?

Donatelli: The integration is going great. We are well ahead of all our internal plans. The real power of this integration is the complete portfolio of new technology we can offer our customers. HP Networking solutions are available to customers and via channel partners worldwide through an integrated order management process.

In addition, HP’s recently revamped ExpertONE professional development and training program includes 14 new career certifications and fast-track programs for 10 of those certifications through more than 150 certified learning partners globally.

Besides price, what is going to be the compelling reason to buy HP Networking considering Cisco and others have matched on energy and speeds for the most part?

Donatelli: Customers buy HP Networking because we have great technology, world-class support and lower total cost of ownership. A few examples of unique technology we offer over the competition include the following:

  • First to deliver new 802.11n dual-radio, three-stream access points with 50% higher performance than competitive offerings.
  • Switches with lower latency by up to 90% and increased throughput by 600% over competitive offerings.
  • HP has one of the largest global supply chains, which allows us to deliver these industry firsts at more competitive prices. The challenge for our competitors is whether they can keep up.

At Interop, HP will further distance itself from the competition with new, innovative offerings that break through organizational silos and improve the user experience.

To learn more about Interop, view our 2011 Interop Las Vegas conference page.

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