I heard that HP has technology like Qfabric from Juniper or Fabric Extender from Cisco. It is IRF.
You can read some things about these technologies in the Pepelnjak`s blog, but I allow myself to make short description about it.
All these technologies are similar decisions from different vendors for simplification of design data center networks. This is technology of virtualization, when all network works in the one virtual switch, where central real switches works like supervisors and many smaller switches work like linecards.Physically it is look like this
From traffic and O&M perspectives it looks like this
(Pictures are stolen from this page )
Advantages of such technology are obvious. You have not problem with STP, L2-loop, port’s blocking, you have easy management. So no surprise that every vendor creates similar technology. I think after years we will have new standart in the design. Maybe, IETF would create some open protocol for this.
So, what’s about IRF from HP? From the description it is very similar to other technology and have only bad differences. But I think, it best by price 🙂 It is only way to take some part of networking market where Juniper and Cisco are ruling.
Sad, but I have not practical experience in these technologies, but if I will have chance to use it, I will say you about it.