HP fills the Top of Rack switch gap with 5900 switches


HP has finally filled in the dark void in their networking product lines.  They have the datacenter and campus level switches, but hasn't had an offering in the Top-of-Rack product space, until now.  On Wednesday, HP unveiled the 5900 series switches aimed directly to top-of-rack uses.
The 5900 is a high-density 24- or 48-port 10Gb switch.  The 48-port switch (5900AF) also includes 4 x 40Gb interfaces for demanding applications, and also supports the new IRF (Intelligent Resilient Framework) specification allowing up to 4 5900's to be managed as a single switch.
Probably the largest eye-opener in my opinion is the ultra-low latency that HP expects from the switches.  Approximately 1 microsecond of store-and-forward latency for frames.  I would surmise that this low-latency switch is the reason that HP plans to release FCoE support in the future.
The datasheet for the 5900AF (48-port) shows the total Switching capacity of 1.28Tbps with a max forwarding rate of 952Mpps.  Definately a top-of-rack switch capable of handling large loads.
HP plans to make the 5900-series switches available in the first half of 2012.
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