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The Cisco Catalyst 4500E Killer. The HP 5400R zl2 Switch Series has arrived.

By Steve Brar, Manager, Global Product Marketing, HP Networking


Steve BrarYes, it is true. We will have to plead guilty in this case. HP has just introduced the new HP 5400R zl2 Switch Series which is being touted as a Cisco Catalyst 4500E killer. It is packed with innovations to help our customers modernize and migrate their campus network infrastructures from aging Cisco networks while providing investment protection for our existing customers.


But we are not the only guilty ones. Our competitors are guilty of a lack of innovation and keeping up with customer demands.


Legacy campus networks are plagued with management complexity, constrained bandwidth for new apps and technologies such as HD video and IEEE 802.11ac, and generally cost a lot to maintain resulting in a lack of ability to invest in other business opportunities.


The new switch series builds upon the success of the original HP 5400 zl Switch Series that was introduced in 2006. With over 10,000 customers and over 20 million ports shipped the original 5400 has established itself as a leader in campus switching.


The HP 5400R zl2 adds key new capabilities including redundant management modules for high availability, increased PoE+ capability to all ports simultaneously, a faster backplane – up to 2Tbps, and improved OpenFlow performance. These and other innovations lay the foundation for future-proofing campus networks for years to come.


The new HP 5400R zl2 Switches provide an agile switching platform that delivers simplicity and low TCO for our customers.


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Taking out the competition – 5400R zl2 vs Cisco Catalyst 4500E/R+E

The new 5400R beats the Cisco Catalyst 4500 in almost every way, shape or form. Some key differentiators include:

  • 3X higher throughput in packets per second vs. Supervisor 8
  • 60% lower latency (2.1us vs around 5us)
  • Full PoE+ for up to 288 ports simultaneously
  • 43% lower TCO – When taking into account initial purchase plus SmartNet tax
  • A 42% smaller footprint – 5406R zl2 is 4RU and the 4503E is 7RU
  • Lifetime Warranty – Cisco offers a “limited” lifetime warranty

Not to mention the 4500E lacks key features such as 10GBase-T support for 10 GbE over copper and OpenFlow 1.3.

With the 5400R customers get the simplicity of no software licensing and all features included!


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HP vs. Cisco on Campus SDN

Despite repeated claims by Cisco around an SDN offering for the campus, they still lack any real SDN offering for the campus or they are making it extremely hard to find. I did locate marketing information on Cisco ONE and APIC Enterprise. But when taking a closer look, I find that “This product will be available soon” still listed on the data sheet. Not only that, I can’t seem to find any mention of OpenFlow on the Catalyst 4500 data sheet or its Supervisor 8 data sheet.


Greg Ferro of Ethereal Mind recently wrote an article on Cisco’s APIC Enterprise announcement where he stated, “This is going to be a tough sell to customers… Until we have a real product we won’t know how good the deliverable is.” I couldn’t agree more. As an expert in the networking field I can’t even figure it out and this is my day job!


I encourage anyone looking for a clear, simple SDN strategy with a complete offering that is shipping to look into HP’s SDN offerings.


We have real offerings that unlock the potential of your network and increase business agility including our VAN SDN Controller, Network Protector SDN App, Network Optimizer SDN App, and over 50 platforms with OpenFlow support including the new 5400R zl2.


Don’t take my word for it

HP relies on our channel partners for the success of our business and we sell over 95% of our networking products through our resellers. We are quite lucky to have such great partners who believe in HP’s innovation and extend our reach to so many customers. Check out this article in CRN where Chad Williams of Matrix Integration recently commented on our new 5400R zl2 Switch Series.


Protecting our customers' investments

HP is making it easy for our existing customers to transition to new capabilities of the 5400R. The 5400R is designed with the same height (4 RU & 7 RU) as the previous generation making it a drop in replacement. In addition, the 5400R support existing 5400 v2 modules providing additional investment protection.


HP is future-proofing the campus network

HP's 5400R is helping customers modernize their campus infrastructures and migrate away from legacy incumbent vendors that are still pushing aging architectures onto their customers. The new HP 5400R zl2 is truly a Cisco Catalyst 4500E “killer”. HP continues to drive innovations in the campus network that are helping organization derive more business value from their investments.


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For more information:

Read my colleagues blog on the 5400R: New HP 5400R Switch Series Delivers Resiliency and SDN


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About the Author

Adil H M

I am big fan of HP networks. But 5400 (old series) had given me tooooo much pain in implementing at lots of customers. I hope 5400R zl2 is much more stable than its predecessor.


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