Interop: HP Predicts 'Two-Horse Race,' Avaya Pushes SIP; Cisco Goes Borderless

Hewlett-Packard Senior Vice President and General Manager Marius Haas didn't mention Cisco Systems by name in his opening keynote at Interop Las Vegas 2010.

As the executive who oversees HP's ProCurve networking division, Haas didn't have to name names. Instead, he painted how the complete picture HP offers, thanks in part to the acquisition of 3Com Corp., makes the battle to control the network from the edge to the core a "two-horse race."

Haas said the network is transforming. It's no longer a single force. The network is on a convergence course, he said, and must integrate everything from servers, storage and networking to services and management to be effective and help business cut costs and get more value out of their systems.

"The network needs the transformation because it needs to be the glue that holds together the other components," Haas said to a capacity crowd.

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Haas said the HP team was "amazingly surprised" by the technology that the 3Com acquisition brought to HP's table, enabling them to not only tell a true edge-to-core story but also attack new markets where 3Com had a strong foothold, namely China where 3Com's H3C line is the market share leader in router and switching ports sold.

"HP is the only company that has all of the IP: servers, storage, networking, services and management," Haas said, adding that now the company can appease customers with an "I want everything from HP" credo with its converged infrastructure strategy.

With a massive HP S12500 data center switch (formerly a 3Com H3C switch) at stage right, Haas laid out how the switch stacks up against Cisco, again opting not to mention the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant and its largest competitor by name. Haas said the S12500 packs in twice the performance, with 2.1 billion data packets-per-second of throughput compared to its main competitor's roughly 1 billion packets-per-second. Haas added that the S12500 can do that while consuming roughly 30 percent less power than its unnamed chief rival.

And the addition of 3Com's TippingPoint security arm, which Haas said made more vulnerability discoveries than all other competitors combined, gives HP a strong security angle as well.

Ultimately, Haas said, HP wants to simplify IT and leverage open and standards-based technologies while offering best in class technology with the best total cost of ownership.

"We're excited about the transformation we're going to drive and accelerate with these capabilities in hand," Haas said.

NEXT: Avaya, Cisco Take The Interop Stage

Haas was the first of a trio of high-power keynote speakers to take the Interop stage as the annual networking-focused show kicked off Tuesday morning in Las Vegas.

Avaya CEO and President Kevin Kennedy highlighted Avaya's "fit for purpose" communications strategy and highlighted Avaya's four new data networking products that Kennedy said tackle the eternal struggle of "being able to deal with the unanticipated and being able to respond."

The four new products from Avaya Data Solutions are as folows:

-- Avaya Ethernet Routing Switch 8800 is designed for enterprise data centers migrating to unified communications and virtualized environments;

-- Avaya Wireless LAN 8100 Series uses split plane architecture for wired/wireless architecture in unified communications environments;

-- Avaya Configuration and Orchestration Manager (COM), is a management application for use in Avaya's Unified Communications Management suite;

-- Avaya Advanced Gateway 2330 is a SIP gateway that provides voice services for branch offices in its basic configuration, and can be upgraded to include routing and WAN services.

The four products, plus Avaya's fit-to-purpose mantra revolve around four tenants: resiliency, better performance, lower TCO and less energy consumption, Kennedy said.

"Our goal is to invest in innovation and be best in class individually and collectively across these four themes," he said, later adding that leveraging SIP as a consolidating technology will unlock the power of communications and create an open ecosystem.

Closing out the keynote presentations, Brett Galloway, senior vice president of Cisco's Borderless Networks group, outlined the new need to be connected to anyone, from anywhere, at any time, from any device and how Cisco is building the borderless ecosystem to make that possible.

"Borders are breaking down," he said. "Borders are breaking down between our home and our work lives. Borders are breaking down between organizations."

Galloway said a network that delivers the same experience halfway across the globe as it does to the next cubicle over has become a necessity.

To illustrate the borderless network, Galloway and Chris Kozup, Cisco senior manager of mobility solutions, demonstrated Cisco's new CleanAir Technology, a Cisco-patented ASIC Cisco unveiled at Interop that highlights where WLAN interference is occurring and how to take control of it. CleanAir is included in the new Cisco wireless networking tools released at Interop, including the Aironet 3500 Series Access Points.

The CleanAir technology, which can be used as part of Cisco's WCS management solution, presents interference sources in a user interface, shows a floor plan and lets other wireless devices adapt to avoid the interference.

The goal is classification, detection, location and mitigation of interference, Kozup said, to "understand the breadth of what's happening in the RF environment."