HP Networking | IT Case Study | HP
Case study
HP future-proofs data centers
with best-in-class equipment
Tech giant demonstrates reliability of own
networking products
Information technology
Build a feature-rich data center infrastructure
that is energy- and cost-efficient, delivers
high‑performance throughput, and offers
unparalleled security
Review proposals from top networking vendors
and conduct proof-of-concept tests to determine
the best supplier. Assemble a cross-departmental
installation and implementation team, implement
staff training, and develop a meticulous transition
plan to avoid downtime during upgrades
IT matters
•Transitioned over 280 servers with live
applications to the infrastructure with no
application service interruption
•Increased support for 10 Gb/s attached servers
to allow for higher levels of network traffic
•Reduced time to deploy new applications by
50 percent on average, saving IT staff time
•Removed proprietary protocols in favor of open
standards, to avoid vendor lock-in
•Gained scalability of network capacity and security,
a key enabler for growth
Business matters
•Supports more than 120 Gb/s of Internet traffic,
which offers faster internal communications and a
better user experience for shopping at hp.com
•Significantly reduces infrastructure investment,
maintenance, support, and overall total cost
of ownership
•Improves security and boosts PCI compliance by
adding intrusion prevention
“Every dollar of HP’s multi-billion
dollar revenue stream and all core
applications supporting over
300,000 employees run through
HP Networking equipment.
Our experience shows that
HP Networking meets best-inclass performance, scalability,
and reliability requirements of
the largest enterprises.”
– John Lino, distinguished technologist and HP IT Chief
Network Architect
New technologies drive change
It’s no surprise when a high-tech company uses its own
products. However, the story of how HP migrated its network
from Cisco to HP Networking equipment has unique aspects
that make it relevant to all enterprises in any industry or
market segment. In 2010, HP found that its network
infrastructure wasn’t poised to take advantage of recent data
center advances—such as virtualization, green technology,
additional layers of security, and higher density server
connectivity. It was time for the company to embrace open
standards and evolve along with network technology.
Case study | HP future-proofs data centers with
best-in-class equipment
With revenues in excess of $100 billion
USD and five major business lines, HP has
a portfolio that spans servers, storage,
networking, personal computing, imaging
& printing, software, services, and solutions.
Employing more than 300,000 people
in 170 countries, HP is also one of the
largest providers of information technology
infrastructure, software, services, and
solutions in the world.
Driven by innovation
Given that scale, it stands to reason that
HP places a high level of importance on its
infrastructure, and the company tries to
ensure that the infrastructure; is kept up to
date through an evergreen strategy of regular
upgrades and continuous improvement. To
that end, the company consolidated more
than 85 of its data centers and hundreds of
small server sites into six new global facilities
located in the United States. The HP Global
IT department built out the network, using
products from HP and other vendors.
From the time the data center consolidation
was completed, much had changed as
advances in virtualization and the demand
for higher density of 10-Gigabit server
connectivity drove requirements for higher
network throughput. Green technology had
matured, offering potential cost savings; and
the increase of targeted attacks dictated
a need for additional layers of security. In
order to meet these new challenges, Global IT
launched a network transformation initiative.
Every aspect of HP drives innovation; and
HP IT is no exception to that rule. Taking a
portfolio of technologies focused around
HP networking assets, HP IT’s Network
Architecture and Engineering team developed
a purpose-built and industry-leading
architecture and technology strategy that
enabled seamless transformation to new,
efficient, and feature‑rich infrastructure and
services—without compromising production
uptime in the next-generation IT data centers.
Finding the best supplier
HP-owned Cisco-based legacy infrastructure
couldn’t offer the flexibility or scalability the
design team was looking for. The first key
step in the transformation was selecting
a new vendor for routers, switches, and
other network components. To best meet
the goals of the transformation, the team
chose products that relied on open standards
and increased flexibility—and could easily
be replaced as technology evolves and
could support an increasingly converged
infrastructure with no vendor lock-in. Other
factors taken into consideration included
energy efficiency and intrusion detection
and prevention.
“The existing Cisco-based
network couldn’t meet our
requirements without a
massive re-architecture, major
rip-and-replace operation, and
further digression into
proprietary platforms and
– John Lino, distinguished technologist and HP IT
Chief Network Architect
Company leadership made it clear that the
HP IT had the flexibility to choose the best
vendor to fit the business needs.
“There were many factors that influenced
our decision,” says John Lino, distinguished
technologist and Chief Network Architect,
HP IT. “But open standards ranked near the
top, because it allowed us to build solutions
based on the products and services that best
met our requirements, instead of being locked
into a proprietary technology.”
HP IT considered proposals from top
networking companies such as Juniper,
Foundry, and Brocade, as well as
HP Networking. The team researched
specifications, ran extensive proof-of-concept
tests, and met with other IT professionals
before selecting HP Networking.
HP Networking is committed to open
standards and builds products that are simple
to adopt into existing architectures, while also
providing benefits within those architectures.
The group also offers a streamlined and
consistent portfolio of technologies which,
combined with a single source for maintenance
and support, helped to bring efficiencies to
network operations.
Case study | HP future-proofs data centers with
best-in-class equipment
No margin for error
The next stage of the network transformation
focused on implementation, with one
major caveat: no downtime. Any network
interruption would hurt the HP business and
reputation; so the transition had to occur while
the network was fully operational. “Swapping
out core components in a production
network of a Fortune 10 company is like
changing the engine of an airplane in flight,”
says Lino. “Thorough planning and close
coordination were essential; we had to
ensure that HP maintained its always-on
infrastructure and continued to run over the
entire period.”
HP IT assembled an implementation
team led by architects and engineers in
collaboration with subject matter experts from
HP Networking and HP Technology Services,
who provided central build and configuration
staging, as well as resident engineering
support services.
Once the core and WAN of the network
was complete, the transformation of the
server Point of Distribution (POD) within the
data centers was initiated. The HP IT team
developed an innovative transformation
architecture that allowed for the interim
convergence of the legacy Cisco networking
equipment and new HP Networking
technology at the server level.
The result: a successful implementation of
a new infrastructure with HP Networking
switches and routers, transitioned over
280 servers with live applications to the
infrastructure—with no application service
“The training, which was very
effective, enabled our
engineers to successfully
transition from Cisco to
HP Networking and meet
aggressive timelines.”
The migration approach was to install
new HP routers and switches beside the
existing components, running in a mirrored
– John Lino, distinguished technologist and HP IT
configuration, and then switch traffic
Chief Network Architect
completely over to the new equipment—all in
a carefully choreographed sequence. However,
the most challenging aspect of the plan was
Clearly, HP IT had entered a new paradigm of
the time frame. “Under normal circumstances, always-on network infrastructure on a scale
migrating the core of our network takes many
not seen within the industry before.
months of planning, risk assessment, and
execution. We executed this migration in just
Four times the capacity, better security
two months. To compound this challenge,
Today, the internal IT core and WAN run entirely
we were tasked with upgrading all of our
on HP technology; and—unlike the previous
backbone circuits to enable four times the
Cisco-based network—uses open standards
capacity in the core,” says Lino.
everywhere. The data center distribution layer
is composed of HP 9505 switches, and HP
This combined capacity and circuit refresh,
12508 switches are deployed at the data center
in addition to a technology transformation,
core. The WAN backbone consists of HP 8812
required precise planning, orchestration
routers, while HP 6604 routers are used for
of many teams, and change coordination
MPLS access.
for implementation.
When the time came to implement the
plan, everything worked as expected. The
team completed the switchover in less than
48 hours per data center—without affecting
the network.
Lino credits great teamwork for the success
of the switchover: “Everybody came together.
Support engineers from HP Networking and
HP Technology Services support technicians
collaborated with us during every change.
This close coordination between IT and the
support organizations enabled a more efficient
migration and a better level of support
through the entire migration period.”
These changes have paid off significantly
in terms of performance and throughput.
The Internet and WAN—both vital to
internal communications as well as online
transactions—support more than 120 Gb/s
of Internet capacity. And introducing new
services is much faster, thanks to end-to-end
virtualization in the data center.
Security in the new network is also
greatly improved, thanks to the addition of
HP TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention Systems
(IPS). “The new core architecture facilitated a
more security-aware implementation.
Case study | HP future-proofs data centers with
best-in-class equipment
Customer at a glance
•HP 8800 Router Series
•HP 6600 Router Series
•HP 12500 Switch Series
•HP 9500 Switch Series
HP services
•HP IT Infrastructure Consulting
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Due to the separation of functions, we were
able to place IPS between the layers of our
infrastructure with ease, which has helped
us achieve much more security awareness,”
notes Lino. The added security enables HP to
comply with PCI standards for protecting
credit card information and boosts network
security in general.
Every dollar of the HP multi-billion dollar
revenue stream passes through a core and
WAN infrastructure that now runs exclusively
on equipment from HP Networking. The
experience shows that HP Networking’s
performance and reliability are above any in
the networking industry—including Cisco’s.
HP Networking—proven, top-tier supplier
Without question, the HP network is massive,
as it constitutes the platform for business
activities such as sales, customer support, call
center, internal communications—and even
online shopping at hp.com.
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© Copyright 2011, 2012, 2014 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The
only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein
should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
4AA3-3926ENW, February 2014, Rev. 4
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