HP’s new Switching platform 11900

HP showcased one of its soon to release new big&mean switching platform in InterOp 2013, the 11900, and today you can already get prices on this peace. Although having been considered hottest products in InterOp 2013, if you ask me, this might not be a game changer for HP’s portfolio as I believe the 12900 might be when it releases. But it is interesting enough to be noted.

This box is positioned for aggregation layer in the Datacenter (HP’s FlexFabric Portfolio), right next to today’s main Datacenter core platform, the 12500. Although probably a lot of work like me in countries qith “slightly” different companies as the US does. In countries where big companies considering substituting their Cisco 6500 with a 11900 might be more than enough, and therefore surely suffice as a core.

So we are talking about another platform with CLOS architecture designed to provide a non-blocking architecture with 4 Fabric Modules (each with 3x 40Gbps per I/O line card), with performance figures of 7,7Tbps, 5.7 Mpps, and achieving latency levels of 3 μs.

As for scalability, we are talking about being able to scale up to 64x 40GbE ports (non-blocking), and 384x 10GbE (also non-blocking) now-a-days. As a matter a fact, technically each I/O line card has 480Gbps (4x3x40) of total backend bandwidth,

Anyway, as you may already suspect, it does indeed run HP’s new version of Network OS, the Comware 7 (Cw7), and will therefore also contain almost all of the cool “Next-Generation” Datacenter features, namely:

  • DCB and FCoE
  • OpenFlow 1.3 (thus standards-based SDN-ready)
  • Though not available in this first release, MDC (context/ Virtual Switchs inside your chassis box) and SPB (sort of alternative to TRILL) will also become available

You might be wondering why the hell have a new Box, when HP has just released new management modules for the 10500, which also bring Comware 7 to it, and some of its features. Note that the 10500 is positioned for Campus-Core, not DC. As such, it will not support features as DCD/FCoE and EVB/VEPA, and those the major differences in the mid-term that you can count on.

As for it being positioned as a Core platform, please note that when it comes to scalability numbers in terms table size of FIB, ARP, MAC, etc 11900 platform does not even scale as near as HP’s 12500. Along with high buffering capability, these might be important features in DC environments with high density and number of VMs.

Networktest also publiced its test results on the 11900. The tests consist essentially of a Spirent TestCenter hitting a L2&3 bombardment simultaneously on all 384 10Gbps ports (all 8 I/O slots filled with 48 10GbE line cards), and another bombardment simultaneously on all 64 40Gbps ports (all 8 I/O slots filled with 8 40GbE line cards).

Disclamer: note that these are my own notes. HP is not responsable for any of the content here provided.

HP 10500 Campus-Core switch now supports new OS

HP just released a new hardware model of Management Processing Units (MPUs) for their  10500 Core switch platforms. (For those of you more Cisco-oriented, we are talking about sort of the equivalent of the Supervisors on a Nexus 7k platform, since the 10500 has a CLOS architecture, with dedicated Switching Fabric modules that offload all the switching between the line cards.) Here are some specs of the new MPU on the right side, along with a (for example) 10508 mapping where they fit:

10500 MPU v2

Now though the hardware specs show a some hardware enhancements (comparing with the previous one, which had a 1GHz single-core CPU, and 128MB of Flash), the most interesting part is definitely the support for the new version of OS: Comware 7.

Until so far the only platforms that supported this OS were the muscled ToR 5900 (yes 5920 as well, but for the sake of simplicity I will try not making it complicated) and the 12500 high-end Switching Core platform. Here are some of the enhanced and exclusive features that the boxes running CW7 were blessed with:

  • ISSU (In-Service Software Update, which means online Software update without forwarding interruption)
  • RBAC
  • DCB Protocols (PFC, DCBX, and ETS) + FCoE (exclusive to the 5900 on this first release)
  • EVB (naturally exclusive to the 5900, as this is a feature intended for ToR)
  • MDC (Multi-Device Context – supports completely isolated Contexts/vSwitches, exclusive to 12500)
  • TRILL (until so far was exclusive to 5900)

So what this means is that HP is bringing some of this juice to its platform positioned for Campus-Core. So if you upgrade your existing MPUs with the new ones, you will be able to add ISSU (without needing a second box clustered with IRF), as well as TRILL

And, as you can imagine, there might be some updates in the near future on which Comware 7 features are supported on this box. Just be aware that 10500 is and will remain (at least for quite a while) a platform positioned for Campus-core, and as such, it does not make sense to add Datacenter funcionalities, such as EVB and DCB/FCoE.