Answer: when it's a power supply.
Just released the latest test report for HP on its ProCurve 2520 Ethernet switch - http://www.broadband-testing.co.uk/ReportList.aspx - and the point of interest here is not that it's got plenty of Layer 2/two and a bit features and is well priced for the SMB market, but that - in any if its various incarnations - it's fully PoE enabled.
So it's not so much a switch for networking users as for networking applications - wireless APs, IP telephones, IP surveillance webcams. PoE per port prices have dropped significantly in the past 18 months, so it's now surely a case of thinking: what can we power via an Ethernet cable?
Answers in the form of comments on this blog please...
What this kind of product does show is that, in combining successfully with 3rd party products such as Avaya's IP Telephony products, the ProCurve One initiative which might have looked like just another marketing exercise around "strategic alliances" has genuine depth. Of course, it has been labelled a Cisco basher. Bring on the 3Com acquisition and that might well be true from an HP perspective. Suddenly the Cisco portfolio is beginning to look a bit "Dad's Army" and with more holes than a good slice of Leerdammer...
Meantime, my mates at jetNEXUS - watch out for the report on the company's Load-Balancer on a stick (or CD) appearing on the Broadband-Testing website any day now - have come up with a really smart little tool for identifying just how much your website performance could be improved: http://www.jetnexus.com/predictor/jetnexus.htm
This might look like a crass bit of marketing to(mfo)olery but since I've tested the jetNEXUS ALB-X product and know how good it is, I recommend you try out this predictor. And, no, I'm not going to tell you how much it said it could improve the Broadband-Testing website by....
Oh - ok, then, nothing to hide - 34% improvement is possible according to the predictor, which is not insigificant. The predictor takes a samples of web pages from the site and analyses how much improvement the jetNEXUS ALB-X could make in each case:
So in most cases the improvement factor was actually a very significant 60%. On an eCommerce site that's the difference between a one-time customer visit and customer retention. It's useful as well as a bit of fun, but the results are there to be taken seriously. Try it out...
It's the weekend, so a quick wine tip/challenge. Try to find/buy/drink a red wine from the Ardeche region of France. I picked up a few en route back from a meeting at HP's EMEA HQ in Grenoble and they have been excellent - light, fruity and great with foods that reds don't normally go with (I'm not going to say which foods exactly- that spoils the fun).