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A REAL SDN Ecosystem

By Jacob Rapp, HP Networking Global Marketing Leader, HP Networking

 

Jacob RappWith Cisco’s recent announcement…or rather re-launch….of their DevNet developer ecosystem, it got me thinking of what a “real” SDN ecosystem should look like.

If at first you don’t succeed, call it DevNet — Cisco is putting “lipstick on a pig.” The Register remarks, “Cisco has picked up a lipstick-gloss in one hand and a pig in the other by re-launching its developer program to have another shot at attracting third party coders to its platforms.” Cisco DevNet isn’t new; the only difference from 2009 to 2014 is REST-based APIs and a Cisco-only sandbox.

 

The advent of transformational technologies like Software Defined Networking (SDN) ushers the arrival of new waves of innovation. At the same time, SDN brings changes to the networking industry status quo, which explains the obvious discomfort of some vendors. Most importantly, SDN success require a robust supporting ecosystem in which new technologies grow and better solutions are nurtured. HP led the networking industry in recognizing the value of SDN to our customers, so we supported SDN and OpenFlow from day one without hesitation. Building on rich experience in building industry alliances and ecosystems for emerging technologies, HP led the industry in creating, supporting and expanding an open and vibrant SDN ecosystem.

 

Cisco was missing in action

Building successful ecosystems is a process that requires patience, committed resources, partners, leadership, and most importantly concrete work rather than scattered press announcements. While HP has been busy over the last three years working with partners and industry standards groups to consolidate the gains of SD and OpenFlow and add the resources needed for a growing SDN ecosystem, Cisco was busy muddying the waters and trying to figure out if and when it will join the industry march forward. It is in that contest that we saw the recent Cisco announcement that touts creating a developer community for

networking; DevNet!!

 

Where is the beef?

Even those with short memories can recall that DevNet is a failed effort that was launched back in 2009. The last thing the SDN community needs is an old and tired vendor-specific group. As one might expect, the announcement was short on substance, so there was nothing to note other than that two things. First, that networking is the only community in Silicon Valley without a development community. So, who bears the bale for that? We know who does. Second, the announcement claimed that there are eight thousand DevNet members. Not bad, except that zero SDN applications to show speaks stronger than anything else. So, to the recent announcement, we will say “where is the beef?”

 

HP clarity of vision

Back to the real world on what it takes to build a REAL SDN Ecosystem. With a clear vision that recognized the importance of aligning IT to business needs and customer expectations, HP announced it Virtual Application Networking (VAN) Controller in 2011. The VAN controller separated the networking plane from the forwarding plane. In other words, HP created a common interface for applications, so they are separated from hardware. Decoupling the business applications from the hardware is the core of SDN and network virtualization.

 

Supporting SDN starts and end here. Creating solutions that creates “tighter coupling between software and hardware” flies in the face of the industry understanding of SDN and network virtualization. Unfortunately, that is one of the elements of Cisco’s ACI “Application Centric Infrastructure” as described in the most recent company blog on ACI.  If that sounds like hardware defined to you, then you are not alone.

 

HP delivers on SDN

With clear commitment to SDN and network virtualization, HP introduced its VAN SDN controller and demonstrated two real SDN applications. The Network Optimizer and Network Protector gave customers a taste of the value and benefits of SDN delivers. With the HP Network Protector, SDN enables customers to move intrusion detection and prevention to the network edge. You can authenticate users and devices in real time at the first instant they contact the network. The HP Network Optimizer is an SDN application for Microsoft Lync environments. The application transforms the Lync user experience by guaranteeing network quality of service as users require.

 

HP SDN ecosystem is alive and well

From day one, HP made it clear that working with Partners and building an open SDN ecosystem are necessary for SDN to succeed and flourish. Building on the SDN industry momentum, in Q3 2013, HP and VMware announce an effort to enable the two companies SDN controllers to coexist and work together. The partnership was born out of firm belief that hybrid SDN environments will exist in customer’s environments and HP solutions will coexist with SDN solutions from industry partners. HP didn’t stop there, so at Interop New York 2013, HP announced two critical building blocks for the SDN ecosystem. First, HP announced the SDN Developer Kit (SDK) to give partners and customers the tools needed to build enterprise SDN applications. Developers can also use HP resources to test and validate their SDN applications. Second, HP to the brave step of creating a marketplace for enterprise SDN application with the announcement of an SDN APP store. The App store gives developers a marketplace to show and monetize their applications. It also gives customers a trusted place where they can get enterprise SDN applications.

 

The bottom line

The clarity of HP vision on SDN, the clear commitment to open industry standards and ecosystem, the release of HP SDN controller, the already available SDN applications, the SDK and the App Store stand tall as opposed to a late faint announcement that offers nothing to customers.

 

For a good taste of taste of real SDN applications, and a good feel of what a real SDN community and do, visit the HP SDN Application Showcase and see what HP and its partners are delivering.

 

SDN_072414.jpg

 

Fig 1: HP SDN App Store

 

We recommend that you take a moment to download the HP SDN VAN Controller at this Link and explore the potential benefits of SDN.

 

If you are thinking of developing SDN application, or just started learning about SDN, we encourage you to join the industry’s most vibrant SDN developer’s community by contacting the HP SDN alliance at:  sdnalliancesteam@hp.com. You can also learn more about HP SDN Dev center by visiting: Dev Center

 

For important links on many aspects of HP SDN program visit: Link to SDN Resources

 

>> Learn more about HP SDN SDK by downloading the HP SDK Brochure

 

>> For more information visit www.hp.com/networking/sdn

 

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HP Discover Barcelona 2014.jpg

 

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