By Mike Banic, VP Marketing, HP Networking
After recently visiting the HP Garage, I’ve been reflecting on Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard's spirit of invention and how what they brought to their garage workshop prevails to this day at HP labs where researchers are pursuing advances in such fields as OpenFlow software and optical backplane technology. Like countless HP-invented technologies beforehand, I am especially impressed by HP’s pioneering development of OpenFlow with Stanford University researchers since 2007. Together, HP and Stanford earned top honors at the ACG Sigcomm Conference in August 2008 for A Demonstration of Virtual Machine Mobility in an OpenFlow Network.
In a recent customer meeting, a customer asked how easy it will be to implement OpenFlow with existing HP equipment. In many cases, the switches that customers purchase today will support OpenFlow. Several Universities are building OpenFlow networks HP switches that run a development version of software leveraging hardware capabilities already in many of our switches.
To learn more about HP Labs leadership in OpenFlow, I invite you to take a look at Charles Clark, HP Networking research director’s recent presentation on HP Solving Big Networking Challenges Through Software with OpenFlow .
In this presentation, Charles offers some compelling facts about how HP’s network hardware business complements its investment in OpenFlow research. He expands on the elements of an OpenFlow architecture: applications (e.g., desktop backup, VoIP), provisioning management, a controller and network infrastructure (e.g., switches). It’s especially exciting to hear about OpenFlow automating the configuration of the entire network of switches with application-specific “commit match rules” pushed to switches rather than manually configuring each switch separately using arcane command line interfaces. With OpenFlow, HP will continue make networks easier to manage and operate.
Key considerations…check, check, check and check!
In fact, we believe HP bringing this research to market could transform virtualized networks by combining OpenFlow and HP’s strong orchestration software portfolio and Intelligent Management Center (IMC).
As our CEO said a in a recent interview, you need hardware to run software and innovation in both is accelerated when they’re combined. I agree and think this is as applicable to networking as any other technology. For example, let’s examine the four components of software-defined networks:
- Provisioning management
- Network infrastructure
Check the boxes with me, will you?
HP has a strong application orchestration software portfolio. That is key to the first component. Check that box.
HP has IMC to deliver single pane-of-glass management for the network. That’s the second component. Check that box too.
HP is pioneering OpenFlow software to automatically push application-specific “commit match rules” to infrastructure. Check the third box (notice a pattern here?).
As far as the fourth box, HP networking products are already being used by researchers to implement OpenFlow solutions. We intend to build on our #2 market position in hardware with. breakthroughs like optical backplane technology, which enables high-density high-performance platforms that aren’t limited by the length of copper traces.
Changing the rules of networking
Like Bill and Dave, daily I am especially proud of the spirit of invention that prevails at HP Networking. I hear from customer and partners regularly that HP is indeed changing the rules of networking with technology like OpenFlow, while investing in FlexNetwork architecture to deliver a Converged Infrastructure.
The industry recognizes that the networking business is indeed driving HP business growth (see my recent blog: A year in networking: achievement.) Our combined infrastructure and software portfolio creates a solid foundation from which HP Networking is transforming the industry. Now that’s current day pioneering. Indeed.
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