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Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches

Cisco takes on HP

HP's newly refreshed 5400R zl2 still fails to address top of mind issues

In June 2014, HP introduced a new version of their modular campus access switch, the HP 5400R zl2, a direct competitor to Cisco's Catalyst 4500E. HP claims that their new switch is packed with innovations to help their customers modernize and migrate their campus network infrastructures, in particular by adding redundant management modules to their older generation HP 5400 zl. However, the enhancements are not enough and did not address scalability, converged access for wired and wireless networks, uplink redundancy, investment protection and enterprise network services.


Here, we detail the main lacks of the HP 5400R zl2 compared to the Cisco Catalyst 4500E advantages.


HP 5400R zl2 Lacks Cisco Catalyst 4500E Advantages
Scalability of critical network resources

Demands on the network increase from growth in internet devices, video and IOE. Customers will have to buy new switches to keep up with natural growth with the HP 5400R zl2. The Cisco Catalyst 4500E delivers:

  • 96 more 10/100/1000 ports
  • 8 more 10G SFP+ ports
  • 50% more PoE+ ports with full power supply redundancy
  • 42 times more ACL and Qo5 entries
  • 25 times larger routing table size
  • 16 times more multicast streams
  • 2 times more VLAN capacity
Converged wired and wireless access

The Cisco Catalyst 4500E converges wired and wireless into a single architecture with a single operating system. This enables:

  • Better business decisions with complete visibility into applications across wired and wireless networks
  • Better align wireless bandwidth to business policies
  • Peace of mind with the best wired and wireless solution for today and tomorrow
Enterprise-class resiliency

The HP 5400R zl2 is inferior to the Cisco Catalyst 4500E in terms of resiliency, despite the fact that HP offers redundant management modules. These modules are not sufficient for creating a resilient architecture, and the HP 5400R zl2 lacks technologies such as In-Service Software upgrade (ISSU), uplink redundancy and Virtual Switching System (VSS), which the Cisco Catalyst 4500E has.

Investment protection The HP 5400R zl2 only works with v2 line card, not with a customers’ existing investments. Conversely, the Cisco Catalyst 4500E interoperated with line cards shipped as far back as year 2000, offering unmatched investment protection through forwards and backward compatibility.
Platform positioning HP has 2 competing product lines: ProVision switches and 3rd party merchant silicon based A Series switches. Conversely, the Cisco Catalyst 4500E is the industry’s most widely deployed modular access switch with over 70% Modular PoE market share.
Limited SDN to OpenFlow Cisco’s approach to software defined networking (SDN) is holistic. It includes support for OpenFlow as well as Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which is the only solution in the industry that brings the benefits of SDN across data center, WAN and campus networks through APIC controller.
Enterprise-class network services The Cisco Catalyst 4500E offers unmatched network services for BYOD & Wireless, advanced security and media services

To find out more on the advantages of the Cisco Catalyst 4500E series switches and to debunk false claims, please download the Competitive Messaging Guide

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