HP representatives made some pretty bold claims during Networking Tech Field Day 1, including “our switches will support EVB, FCoE, SPB and TRILL.” I took them three years to deliver on those promises (and the hardware they had at that time doesn’t exactly support all features they promised), but their current protocol coverage is impressive.
A few comments:
- 5900 and 5920 seem to be the only ToR switches HP really invests in. They are also the only true 10GE ToR switches in HP portfolio;
- It looks like they didn’t manage to implement TRILL on the 12500. TRILL requires new encapsulation scheme while SPB uses 802.1ad (Q-in-Q) or 802.1ah (MAC-in-MAC) that were available in merchant silicon for years;
- I’m baffled by lack of EVB on 12500. After all, EVB is a pure control-plane technology (data plane uses 802.1Q or 802.1ad). On the other hand, 12500 is not exactly an edge switch, so one wouldn’t expect to see hypervisor hosts connected directly to a 12500;
- It seems HP decided TRILL is the way to go, and implemented SPB just to keep the existing owners of 12500 switches happy. The newer switches (12900 and 11900) don’t support SPB, even though I’m positive their silicon supports 802.1ah (it’s hard to get merchant silicon that doesn’t support 802.1ah these days);
- 5900 supports SPB and TRILL to work with the old and the new core switches.
- Don’t expect to add new core switches to an existing 12500 core – mixing SPB and TRILL in a single L2 fabric would be great fun (and fantastic job security).