Advice regarding Cisco/Juniper/HP

Dylan Ebner dylan.ebner at
Thu Jun 17 15:28:08 UTC 2010

I have never used 3Com or HP equipment in an infrastucture / mission critical enviornment so I will not attest to their qualities or failures. What I can tell you about is HP's recent acquisition of 3Com in my opinion had little to do with HP wanting to get into a core switch/routing market. 
Shortly before HP purchased 3Com I had the chance to meet Mark Hurd and listen to him talk about the direction HP was moving. At that time it seemed HP was not interested in the enterprise switch/routing market. I think Mark said something like, "Cisco/Juniper has that market all tied up so we are not going to go there." Instead, HP is very very intenetly focused on services. Especially enterprise services. This fits in very nicely with their new UCS (I don't remember what they call their version) blade enclosures. HP needed better switching / routing modules for their unified archtecture. These products come heavily laden with services. Anyone who has SANs, blade chassis, or routing/switching chassis knows the service contracts are enormously expesive. Sometimes half the cost of the system can be the service contract. 3Com also brought something else HP needed. A VOIP handset line. HP has partnered with Microsoft for their unified communication strategy and they do not have a phone. This may be acceptable in some enviornments, but many businesses go "What, no phone?" and kick them out the door. That is what happened with my company when Mircosoft pitched their UC system to us. We simply have too many "high up" users who would show the IT department the door if they didn't have a desk phone. (yes I understand you can add phones, but the package ends up looking like a hodgepodge of services) 3Com has phones and handsets and HP needed those if they want their UCS to compete with the new Cisco UCS. 
When we evaulate vendors for products we use these great big spreadsheets where we define metrics for everything we can thing of. Every product we evaluate we also look deeply at the company as well. My biggest concern with using HP in the core is if they are actually serious about being in the core or are they just going to let that product unit die over time.


Dylan Ebner

-----Original Message-----
From: James Smith [mailto:james at] 
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:52 AM
To: nanog at
Subject: Advice regarding Cisco/Juniper/HP

I'm looking for a little insight regarding an infrastructure purchase my
company is considering.  We are a carrier, and we're in the process of
building a DR site.  Our existing production site is all Cisco equipment
with a little Juniper thrown into the mix.  I'd like to either get the same
Cisco equipment for the DR, or the equivalent Juniper equipment.  We have
skill sets for both Cisco and Juniper, so neither would be a problem to

A business issue has come up since we have a large number of HP servers for
Unix and Wintel.  With HP's recent acquisition of 3Com they are pressing
hard to quote on the networking hardware as well, going as far as offering
prices that are way below the equivalent Cisco and Juniper models.  In
addition they're saying they'll cut us deals on the HP servers for the DR
site to help with the decision to go for HP Networking.  Obviously to the
people writing the cheques this carries a lot of weight.

>From a technical point of view, I have never worked in a shop that used HP
or 3Com for the infrastructure.  Dot-com's, telco's, bank's, hosting
companies...I haven't seen any of them using 3com or HP.  Additionally, I'm
not fond of having to deal with a third set of equipment.  I'm not exactly
comfortable going with HP, but I'd like some data to help resolve the

So my questions to the NANOG community are: Would you recommend HP over
Cisco or Juniper?  How is HP's functionality and performance compared to
Cisco or Juniper?  Does anyone have any HP networking experiences they can
share, good or bad?

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