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Software-Defined Networks leadership defined

HP Virtual Application Networks: Delivering software-defined networking - Part 3


By Kash Shaikh, Sr. Director of Product Marketing and Technical marketing Engineering, HP Networking



Before I share the details regarding our exciting SDN announcement today at Interop 2012 New York, let me share some perspective with you. This announcement is about advancing the leadership HP Networking has in SDN space with new Virtual Application Networks innovations including SDN controller, SDN applications and new OpenFlow-enabled switches.


A quote from John Kotter, a former professor at the Harvard Business School, acclaimed author and authority on leadership, comes to my mind to best describe what we’ve been doing in the SDN space and how we are advancing this leadership today.


"Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there."


HP Networking was instrumental in the development of OpenFlow technology from its earliest days, introduced it’s software-defined networks vision as a part of Virtual Application Networks strategy and continues to lead the market by delivering SDN elements. For instance: 

  • HP and Stanford began collaborating on  Ethane—the predecessor to OpenFlow—in 2007.
  • HP  OpenFlow technology have been the leading choice for researchers worldwide since 2008.
  • HP was the first one to make the commercially available software available on our switches.



The SDN clarity you have been asking for


There is a lot of SDN washing going on and everyone is jumping on SDN bandwagon, making for some confusion in this space. You need clarity on SDN and how you can unlock the potential of SDN. So as a part of this announcement as a leader in space we are also clarifying what is SDN and what is not.

We are taking an industry definition from Open Networking Foundation, a standards body where HP is a founding member, and further clarifying and delivering on that definition.


… In the SDN architecture, the control and data planes are decoupled, network intelligence and state are logically centralized and the underlying network infrastructure is abstracted from the applications …source ONF white paper


We are not altering the true SDN essence of openness and abstraction—unlike the legacy networking vendor who is trying to make SDN fit its needs and defeat the movement of “open” and programmable SDN to keep the market captive after being forced to follow SDN. 





HP SDN solution


We are introducing the industry’s first complete and open-standards-based software-defined network technologies across all three critical SDN layers—infrastructure, control and application layers with a “single control plane” that enables enterprises and cloud providers to simplify and maximize agility across data center, campus and branch networks.




New SDN innovations—with our customers putting it to the test


As the only leading tier-one networking SDN vendor, our goal is to provide enterprise-grade SDN solutions to you so we have been working with several customers who are beta testing the new innovations for a while. We believe we are at a point we can share some of the details with you of the new SDN innovations and some sample customers.


New innovations in the infrastructure layer include 9 new OpenFlow-enabled switches, taking our leadership with enterprise-grade OpenFlow-enabled switches to 25.


New innovation in the control layer includes Virtual Application Networks SDN controller that centralizes the control plane and deliver simplicity and automation.


While the controller is an important part of SDN, more important are the SDN applications running on the controller to provide the ability to apply business logic to solve business challenges. New innovation in the application layer include:


  • HP Virtual Cloud Network application that enables cloud providers to deliver automated and scalable public cloud services to enterprises.  HP Cloud is our lighthouse beta customer who will be using this application to deliver cloud services.                                                                                                 
  • Most of the SDN discussion in the industry has been focused on network virtualization in the data center and cloud service providers. We believe SDN delivers benefits across the Enterprise network including Campus and Branch.  Our new Sentinel Security application is a proof point of SDN delivering device security for enterprise campus network.  HBO, the premium cable television provider, is in early beta trails testing Sentinel Security application for their existing enterprise campus network. 
  • As I said earlier, the promise of SDN is openness, so we are also delivering open programmable APIs on Virtual Application Network controller for customized SDN applications.  CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, is a prime example of how you can leverage our SDN technology to solve your business challenges. CERN is working with us to develop a custom application to enable distributed load balancing on their existing OpenFlow capable switches.



So what’s unique?


HP is delivering a complete and open SDN solution to solve all the challenges faced by enterprises and cloud providers. I’m talking about the challenges created by legacy vendors regarding manual device-by-device configuration through command-line interface (CLI), the close and rigid/physical nature of legacy networks.


Other point approaches in the market such as SDN controller-only overlay-point products offer a centralized control plane  but do not automate infrastructure configuration to prime the network to be able to run the overlay and assumes the manual device-by-device configuration. Overlay-only approaches focus on data center applications only and do not provide SDN applications for campus and branch networks. This incomplete approach creates complexity and unnecessary manual coding requirements. 


Bottom line, HP continues our leadership in SDN movement. We are the only tier-1 networking leader to delivering a complete hardware and software SDN solution across all three critical layers of SDN architecture. You can leverage this solution in your existing campus and data center environments in an incremental evolutionary manner—based on your business needs as described in the customer examples above.


Stay tuned for more to come as we continue to lead SDN space, provide you solutions and debunk the myths of SDN.


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Steven Noble | ‎10-03-2012 02:20 AM

The impact SDN is having on the incumbent vendors is intense, NEMs are scrambling to come out with their own SDN initiatives.  Google, Facebook and others are using OpenFlow based switches and Open Source software to build massive internal networks.  I applaud HP for taking the initiative and risk to put OpenFlow in to so many different switches.


Cloud networks are being created, the nature of networking is changing, whether OpenFlow is the winner at the end does not matter.  What is clear is that we are at the beginning of a curve where CapEx and OpEx of networking equipment will be going down.  The lower costs will help foster the innovation that is already happening in the cloud space.


I would love to get in contact with the right people at HP to get some of your products into our SDN Testing lab here at Router Analysis.



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