HP module expands network automation

Hewlett-Packard Co. will upgrade its network management suite that will allow faster and more automated deployment of applications in virtualized data centres.

The company will add an optional virtual application network manager module in June to its Intelligent Management Center (IMC), which will define an application’s attributes – including quality of service needed – for sending it across networks.

“This is a great tool that can be used to bridge the gap between the network and server administrators,” said Mike Banic, vice-president of market for Hewlett-Packard’s networking division.

The module is an expansion of HP’s converged FlexNetwork architecture.

“Server administrators have some advanced tools these days to allow them to manage application deployment based on policy,” Banic said. “(But) the network admin has been using command line scripts for many years. So now that we have IMC, we’re giving them some policy based tools as well. They can define these connection profiles for applications with templates, which makes it very easy when the server admin wants to deploy a new server.”

For example, he said, to deploy a communications server in a virtualized environment, the admin would select a video profile. An IMC plug-in to the hypervisor would detect the profile and automatically configure the switches at the access layer and in the data centre.

The new module includes a policy engine to store templates and a plug-in to several hypervisors.

Also coming is a set of APIs that will allow IMC users to interface with tools from HP and other software vendors.

“You can expect over time we’ll continue to talk about virtual application networks in the context of new products that we offer in the FlexNetwork portfolio,” Banic said.

HP says FlexNetwork converges the network by ensuring protocols are implemented consistently across all networked devices throughout an enterprise. As a result, customers are able to simplify and speed service delivery across the data centre, campus and branch. The company says the module could deploy an application in less than five minutes by using profiles.
Broadly speaking, HP is creating a software-defined network, where a programmable control plane is build across the network.

The solution works with HP’s latest top-of-rack switches, which include software that allows IMC to do the automated programming.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said the new module is a good adjunct to HP’s recent cloud announcements. “If cloud is really going to become the next wave of computing then the network’s going to play a big role.”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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