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Changing the rules of networking: Integrating HP Networking into Converged Infrastructure

By Deepak Munjal, HP Networking Strategist

Part 1 of a 2-part blog series

With the acquisition of 3Com to complement our existing ProCurve networking business, we now offer an end-to-end networking product portfolio for SMBs, enterprises and service providers.

Our strategy is proving to be a successful one. With total networking revenue growing more than 200% year-over-year and more than 50% organically in the most recent quarter, HP Networking has won over major Fortune 100 customers and changed the rules of networking.

But it’s about more than growing the networking business

1.jpgWe didn’t set out to just grow the networking business. Our real goal was to integrate it into a larger architecture based on Converged Infrastructure and leverage our strong positions in the server, storage and software markets.

Data center architectures are rapidly changing to accommodate virtualization, cloud computing and storage convergence. Networking architectures must also evolve to support these new requirements. As the silos between each of these areas come down, they will need to integrate in new ways and vendors and standards bodies will have to make the necessary changes to help you through this journey.

The first step

One of the first integration points came about years ago with the introduction of blade servers. Network switches, which were mostly external appliances, were integrated inside a server chassis for the first time and immediately blurred the lines between these two silos. HP’s offering in this category, Virtual Connect, appealed to many of our customers because it reduced cabling requirements and simplified the process of moves, adds and changes.

Virtual Connect is part of a solution offering called FlexFabric, focuses on the server interconnect. In a previous blog, Daniel Montesanto discusses how the FlexFabric fits into larger data center networking vision. Let me expand on that blog by focusing on these key areas of integration:

  • Storage convergence
  • Server edge virtualization
  • Management
  • Security
  • Applications

Today, I’ll talk about the first two areas and continue the discussion in a subsequent blog post.

Storage convergence

There is much discussion around storage convergence and the ability to deliver storage traffic over a data center network. Today, that involves support of protocols such as FCoE and iSCSI. While Virtual Connect already supports these protocols at the server interconnect, it is important that the rest of the network participate in the transport of storage traffic. 

HP Networking products support FCoE and iSCSI at the top of the rack today. You’ll see tighter integration between the edge and core of the network to ensure the successful delivery of storage traffic.  Standards bodies have worked hard to solve problems in this space with protocols such as DCB and TRILL. HP is committed to delivering these in our all of product offerings from the server interconnect to the network core.                       






Server edge virtualization

As you continue to deploy virtual machines, network architecture needs to evolve to support thousands of new end points and increased traffic from each physical server. Server virtualization technologies work best in large, flat Layer 2 networks with VM-aware network policies that offer security and traffic isolation.

Today, HP offers the Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF) to aggregate multiple switches to create a large, flat network that offers higher performance, multipathing and greater resiliency than is offered with traditional network designs. 

Going forward, you’ll see the ability to scale even further with larger networks that interconnect disparate data centers. New standards such as IEEE Edge Virtualization Bridging (EVB) will integrate the server interconnect to the network even more to increase the visibility that the network has into the virtual machine.


Continuing this discussion

In my next blog, I’ll cover the requirements in Management, Security and Applications.

Are there other points of integration that will be needed? Please let me know your thoughts.


Learn more:

HP Networking:
The Rules Have Changed


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