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Procurve Innovations in Cloning Technology

- January 27, 2009 - 1 Comment

Yes indeed- Procurve, keenly focused on invention and innovation in the networking sector and has delivered to the market what appears to be an advanced form of cloning rivaling that of genetic pioneers operating just south of San Francisco. There is some minor mutation in the process, often manifested with adverse side effects such as port loss, feature recession, and an often inflated sense of confidence. While the main thrust of this announcement seems to be focused on price and price/performance I would instead look to how businesses are running today. What are the key features that:- lower operating cost allowing IT to free up from onerous tasks- avoid costly long-term services contracts manifested by inferior products- deliver a stable, reliable, and secure system that accelerates and optimizes virtualization- allow me to innovate and deliver operational efficiencyWhen in a marketing role you want to take the litany of capabilities you have, often defined with feature names as exciting as 802.1x or 802.1v and instead communicate the value of them to your customer, often with swank names. It is a fair assumption that marketing is like a distillery, taking the complexity of all these features and picking out the really impactful ones to communicate to people so they understand how your product is uniquely differentiated. When you go through and list the top features of your product you usually want to list those mind-blowing innovations that rock the networking and data center world. For example, about a year to the day ago, when we introduced the Nexus Family of Data Center Switches we talked about the massive scalability, lossless switching fabric, and operational manageability characteristics as categories. Within these key capabilities were:Combine Ethernet and FibreChannel together onto one network – “kind of a big deal”Zero Service Disruption Upgrades – “I can see the value”Virtual Instances of the Operating System – “Virtual O/S Instances, Cool!”Lights-Out Management for Network Devices – “SSH, Reload, Stay Connected”So let’s see what we get with the new ProCurves…. (just randomly picking a few)Modular Power Supplies – “nuff said”Remote Intelligent Mirroring – a useful feature- but there are a lot of potential risks with mirroring 10Gb of traffic around your network…Friendly Port Names – “I think I will call you ‘Fluffy'”Okay, maybe a bit smart-alec on my part. There are some good features in this product, although it strikes me as ‘run of the mill’ and given its focus in the data center as a top-of-rack switch I would have expected to see Lossless Ethernet, Layer-2 Multi-pathing, Multi-Chassis EtherChannel, Object-Oriented Configuration Model with Global Port Objects, Data Center Optimized Boot Sequence and Shutdown Sequence, Resilient SSH Connections through reload, and FibreChannel over Ethernet.Tomorrow we are announcing some new stuff too. This reminds me a bit of last year when we announced the Nexus a day before another company tried to enter the switching market. Their CEO seemed to be miffed in some articles saying we were trying to ‘steal their thunder’ Really? They can keep it- I’m okay with not having it, especially since that thunder still hasn’t shipped. The Nexus by the way, with an astounding 24 hour lead has subsequently achieved over $100M in sales, 300 Global Customers, 20% attach-rate to the Fortune 100, and 24% of Cisco’s 10Gb Ethernet ports. It was a very good day.

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  1. Procurve has supported multi-chassis LACP for years, and their own proprietary L2 multipathing too. I think for ToR / EoR they will get plenty of takers. 4948's are too expensive, I'm hoping 2000 FEX is competitively priced.