HP opens up on SDNs

Software-defined networking: HP creates developer network, app store to accelerate deployments

HP this week is establishing an "open" approach to SDN intended to accelerate programmable network deployments and stimulate demand for its switches and routers.

The effort includes delivery of a software-defined networking SDK for writing applications optimized for programmable networks, and an “app store” to make buying them easy. HP also rolled out 10 routers equipped with the OpenFlow protocol for deployment in SDNs based on the standard.

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HP claims its approach will avoid months of customization and integration work using middleware in legacy environments, and in proprietary SDN offerings. Even though SDN proponents promise the technology will foster network innovation and agility, proprietary methods do just the opposite, the company says.

Conversely, HP says an “open” SDN ecosystem and application development environment enables collaborative development that facilitates interoperability and leads to rapid innovation.

The HP SDK provides developers with tools to create, test and validate applications for the company’s Virtual Application Networks SDN controller, which serves as the control plane for HP OpenFlow-enabled SDN switches and routers, of which there are roughly 60.

The HP SDN App Store lets customers browse, search, purchase and download applications onto their HP controller to simplify and speed network service implementation.

The SDK includes API documentation, developer guide and sample code. It allows developers, including HP Alliance partners, to test application functionality and interoperability in an environment that simulates user conditions, HP says.

Developers can also run applications through HP’s SDN Validation Test.

Current partners registered for the SDN Developer Kit include Blue Coat Systems, BlueCat Networks, Citrix Systems, Ecode Networks, F5, Infranics Networks, Intel, Microsoft, Qosmos, Radware, Real Status, Riverbed, RMIT University, Shortel, SAP, Tech Mahindra, VMware and Websense.

The online SDN App Store will include applications developed by HP, applications jointly-developed with partners, and partner-certified and community-created applications. Enterprise customers can create a secure, private portal accessible only by employees to download and run the HP VAN SDN controller and applications.

The SDN scheme is supported by 10 new HP OpenFlow routers. They include models in the MSR 2000, 3000, 4000 lines, as well as software-based Virtual Services Routers (VSR).

These additions extend the existing OpenFlow-enabled portfolio of 50 switches, representing more than 25 million installed ports, HP says. The MSR routers compete head-to-head with Cisco’s ISR 1900 and 3900 units.

HP also added professional services tailored for SDN deployments. New services include 24x7 technical phone support for SDN developers; SDN application support services for HP packages like Sentinel and unified communications and collaboration; and OpenFlow product implementation service and support.

HP also unveiled SDN educational curriculum and certification extensions to its HP ExpertOne program. The HP SDN Learning Journey curriculum provides instruction on combining traditional networks with SDN architectures.

The HP SDN Certification establishes performance standards for IT architects, managers and application developers deploying enterprise-grade SDNs.

HP SDN Developer Kit will be available in November. The SDN App Store will be available the first half of 2014.

Virtual Application Network SDN Controller target pricing starts at $495. MSR routers are available now and pricing starts at $1,000. VSR is also available now and pricing starts at $500.

SDN Developer Support will be available in November. SDN Apps Services and Support, and Services and Support for the HP OpenFlow products will be available in the first half of 2014.

SDN Learning Journey curriculum is available now. SDN Certification will be available starting in December 2013.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 27 years, 22 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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