HP Networking Bulks Up Branch Office, Security Offerings

HP Networking on Tuesday made a number of updates to its converged infrastructure portfolio, including a solution set for better connectivity and service options for remote offices with limited on-site IT staffs.

That offering, the HP Branch Office Networking Solution, includes a new switch series, the 5400zl, which can integrate with a number of third-party applications from vendors in HP's AllianceONE partner network, including Avaya's Aura Session Border Controller, Citrix's Netscaler VPX, Microsoft's Lync, NetScout's nGenius Integrated Agent and Riverbed Steelhead RiOS.

The 5400zl specifically extends HP converged infrastructure functions, including LAN, WAN, wireless, unified communications, VoIP and network security, out to the branch locations. It's managed through a single-pane-of-glass interface that also troubleshoots issues with the HP partner applications.

"The real problem with all of these partner applications is that when there's a problem, there's always a party that says 'it's not my part of the system,.'" said Jay Mellman, senior director, product and solution marketing, HP Networking, in an interview with CRN. "Well, we're trying to assume responsibility and say, we'll be the ones to fix that, so that channel partners have one place to go."

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Converged Infrastructure, announced a little less than a year ago, is HP's strategy for cohesively managing all of a data center's server, storage and network components. HP has been updating the strategy with new products, services and alliances throughout the past year, hoping, among other things, to offer more comprehensive HP-led data center and networking options for VARs.

Next: Branch Office Solution At Work

Jason Schroeder, senior solutions consultant at Net Direct Systems, an Apex, N.C.-based solution provider, said Net Direct had seen success with the HP branch office offering with a bank customer, MidWestOne Bank.

MidWestOne was an existing Riverbed and HP customer, so the HP solution was all it took to optimize the bank's 25 branch locations for better networking with the Riverbed Steelhead RiOS application on the HP AllianceOne Services zl Module.

The main core for the branch offices in this case, Schroeder said, was a 5406 chassis, which allowed Net Direct to consolidate the bank's appliances into a one-platform strategy.

"This one was pretty straightforward," Schroeder said. "There are other solutions they had been looking at, but they were an HP customer and a Riverbed customer, and there was nothing else that came to the table to fit this scenario. And now they have the platform in place for future modules and to be able to push security services."

HP's 5400zl with AllianceONE services ZL module is available immediately, starting at $8,264.

Next: Security Updates

Also announced Tuesday is HP's Application Digital Vaccine Service, or AppDV, an application control tool from HP TippingPoint DV Labs that can block or limiting usage of non-business applications like YouTube or Twitter -- and limit their potential security threats -- using filters delivered to HP's TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention System.

AppDV is available for existing TippingPointIPS customers that have accounts on HP's ThreatLinQ portal, according to HP.

"This gives IT folks the ability to control application usage very broadly or very granularly," said Michael Callahan, director of product marketing for network security, HP Networking. "They can say: 'It's not important for business to have streaming media? OK, very broadly, with a few clicks, let's block all that kind of traffic.' Or, maybe you don't need everyone in your business on Twitter all day, but you do need a few people in management to be able to use it often. You can apply that."

Businesses want to be very specific about which non-critical applications are allowed and which need to be minimized, but administrators don't want to spend all their time revising policy, either, he added.

"There are very few good solutions to the problem," Callahan said.

HP's final announcement Tuesday was the ProLiant SL6500 Scalable System, a service provider platform, scalable from one node to thousands of nodes and capable of 1 teraflop-per-rack performance. According to HP, the updated system enables service providers to deploy applications eight times faster than in previous generations of the platform.