HP Discover 2014: The announcement of another SDN app leads an official to predict deployments will increase

LAS VEGAS – Hewlett-Packard believes the opening of its upcoming software-defined networking application store may be the move organizations need to shift from piloting SDN to implementing the long-talked about technology.

The online store for purchasing security and business apps for HP’s version of SDN will open in August,  company officials at the annual HP Discovery conference for infrastructure services and products said Monday.

Among the apps will be the newly-announced Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application, which will automate network service, allowing applications to be rapidly deployed to users.  Initially it will be part of HP Helion OpenStack Enterprise, the open-source based platform for building private and public clouds HP sells that includes support and certain enterprise features as well as HP’s SDN controller. Next year it will be sold separately from Helion.

HP also announced a new modular FlexFabric 7900 data centre switch as another piece of its SDN architecture. Available now, pricing starts at US$55,500.

HP said it provides high density 10GbE, 40GbE and 100GbE interfaces in a smaller footprint than a traditional modular chassis. In addition to federating HP’s FlexFabric infrastructure with VMware’s NSX virtual overlay, it supports VXLAN, NVGRE and OpenFlow 1.3.

A number of organizations are taking a look at SDN, a way of virtualizing networks so administrators can centrally manage networks. Every networking hardware and software company around the world has an SDN-related solution, and industry analysts agree it has great potential. HP says there have been some 10,000 downloads of its software controller, the heart of an SDN architecture.

But it requires a number of components to put into practice and not all have hit the market yet. As a result few enterprises are willing to put it into production.

HP’s new Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application will be another piece of the puzzle for its architecture.

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Kash Shaikh, vice-president of marketing for HP’s networking products, told reporters here that the VCN software will allow enterprises or service provides to deploy a virtual network for an application at scale in minutes.

For example, he said, a department may want an application delivered as a service that other units don’t need or want. Through creating the virtual network VCN helps the creation of the virtual public and private clouds.

Exactly when SDN will hit mainstream is up for debate. Shaikh said it’s a reality now, but acknowledged it’s a relatively new technology. “This discussion (on how to build SDN) is going to take the next five years,” he said, “because it’s not necessarily just an incremental innovation. Networking hasn’t seen anything like this in the last 20 years.”

HP believes more organizations will move SDN from pilot to production in 2015, he said. Not only have there been thousands of downloads of HP’s controller, he said, but over the past year the company has sold many SDN-enabled switches ready for customers to convert.

The app store “will definitely help adoption of SDN because this will provide IT with use cases,” he said.

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