Light Reading
HP's looking to foster a SDN ecosystem and take the smartphone model into enterprise software-defined networking with a developers' kit and an app store. But is this an idea ahead of its time?

HP's Building an SDN App Store

Ray Le Maistre
9/30/2013
50%
50%

HP is seeking to put itself at the front and center of the software-defined networking (SDN) revolution with the announcement at this week's Interop show in New York of a SDN software development kit (SDK), plans for an SDN app store, and new routers that support OpenFlow, a key SDN protocol.

The IT giant, which has been one of the most aggressive developers of SDN technology based around the OpenFlow protocol, is keen to "foster an ecosystem around SDN," said Mike Banic, VP of global marketing, networking, at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP) during a media briefing in London.

The availability of an SDK for SDN applications developers, plus plans to build an app store that will enable network operations teams to download apps into their SDN controllers in the same way that smartphone users download apps onto their devices, "will create an opportunity for entrepreneurs -- we believe we can create opportunities for the two-guys-in-a-garage startups to get involved without them needing VC backing," added Banic, referencing HP's founding roots.

The SDK will give developers the opportunity to "develop, simulate, certify, and collaborate," noted Banic, while the SDN app store will house apps from all manner of partners and "bring the consumer experience into the IT department. This is an open SDN ecosystem," added the HP exec.

Partners that have already registered for the SDK include F5, Intel, KT Cloud, Microsoft, NTT, Qosmos, Radware, Riverbed, ShoreTel Inc., Samsung, SAP, Tech Mahindra, and VMware, among others.

In addition, HP is unveiling 10 new router products that support OpenFlow, including a Virtual Services Router that, says HP, is being put through its paces by Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), which is looking at how a virtual router could be deployed for its enterprise customers.

HP's news is just one of what will be a number of important SDN-related announcements that will come out of Interop and the Ethernet & SDN Expo this week. (See Top 10 Reasons to Attend Ethernet & SDN Expo, 5 ESDN Sessions You Won't Want to Miss, Vendors Prep for ESDN Showcase, A Question of Ethernet & SDN and 9 Vendors to Watch at Interop NY 2013.)

SDN vision looks very long-term
The move is the latest step in HP's SDN strategy that has seen the company develop and market commercial OpenFlow switches, develop an SDN controller and applications and demonstrate an SDN applications for the management of Lync unified communications sessions with quality of service.

Now HP wants to make its vision of the programmable network for business applications a reality and says that vision is not restricted to the datacenter but, to be truly effective, has SDN running from datacenters across all manner of wide area networks and all the way to the end user.

All very well, but this is where the HP SDN vision starts to get a bit blurred. Light Reading noted to Banic that while deploying SDN capabilities end-to-end across interconnected wide area networks is a fine idea, it's completely unworkable right now as it requires the support and buy-in of many different parties and network operators. The HP executive admitted that it would likely be at least 2020 before that sort of deployment would be possible. "We're encouraging companies to begin their SDN journeys now… we believe this will happen in time," he said.

There's also the not insignificant impact that end-to-end SDN would have on the very network operations teams that HP is hoping will buy into its vision. Won't that be a stumbling block? Banic admits that such deployments would "lead to a lesser need for network administrators… the automation will occur in domains and over time," he notes.

And how about the app store? When will that be open and ready for use? The SDK is almost ready for action (November 2013) but the app store will "go live later" once there is a decent body of available apps, with the first half of 2014 given as a guideline.

Money matters
HP ended its presentation of this development by showing off the motto "Make it simple, make it matter, make history."

But what about making money? What is the revenue model for the SDK and app store, for example? Is this really something that the two unfunded developers in a garage can get involved with?

There's little in the way of details. HP says it's still working on pricing and licensing models with its partners and also notes that there are certain HP support services, such as "HP SDN Developer Support" and the "SDN Learning Journey" training program, that those involved in the ecosystem might feel compelled by purchase in order to maximize the potential of the ecosystem.

So while the vision is grand and the execution is bold, there's a lot that HP still needs to communicate about what this will cost the developers, partners, and end users and what the timeframes will be for real world applicability.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet & SDN Expo, a Light Reading Live event that takes place Oct. 2-3, 2013 at the Javits Center in New York City. Co-located with Interop, Light Reading's Ethernet & SDN Expo will focus on how the convergence of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 with emerging carrier software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization technologies could change the whole telecom landscape for service providers. For more information, or to register, click here.


(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/1/2013 | 2:24:16 PM
In the dark
No information on the app store on HP's web site. Let's see if HP is more forthcoming during the ESDN event. Very curious what HP is really talking about with this app store.
RolfSperber
50%
50%
RolfSperber,
User Rank: Light Beer
10/1/2013 | 5:39:03 AM
SDN App Store
If you consider the complexity of multi domain, multi technology and multi layer networks and if above all that you want to include NFV the idea of an app repository with connectivity and service modules seems only natural. These apps or building blocks need to have standardized interfaces and in consequence any application utilizing network capacity can ask for a custom made virtual solution.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
9/30/2013 | 4:28:28 PM
Re: App stores are mythical beasts in most markets
Will SDN get developers' juices flowing the way the iPhone did? Hard to imagine...

I agree with your view on app stores - there have been announces of app stores around business services and broadband at various times that  never really deeloped into trends.
@mbushong
50%
50%
@mbushong,
User Rank: Moderator
9/30/2013 | 1:50:28 PM
App stores are mythical beasts in most markets
I like that HP has been hyper-aggressive in pursuing SDN. It shows that they are unafraid of new technology, and I think it speaks volumes to their willingness to innovate. 

But I am not sure I understand the App Store model. Creating an App Store is about making money - for the developers. The reason that the Apple App Store model worked is that Apple was providing a vibrant marketplace filled with lots of Apple consumers. And even if the consumers did not all exist when it was launched, there is a much larger expectation of volume in the consumer space where everyone owns a phone.

In the networking space, the number of controller application consumers is tiny even after the whole market emerges. So forgetting that the market is still nascent, even in the limit, there will be orders of magnitude fewer installed seats. And then keep in mind that the number of controllers will be orders of magnitude lower than the number of installed networking devices.

So who will buy these apps?

It gets even murkier if the controller market is fractured between OpenDaylight, BigSwitch, HP, NEC, NSX, and whoever.

With so few customers and no path to anyone getting dominant share in any app, the cost per app will have to be ridiculously high. But consumers won't pay a ton for some generic low-value application, so the barrier to entry for would-be app developers is going to be quite high.

I like trying to get first-mover advantage, but this move feels a bit forced to me. I am sure someone smarter than I has figured it all out, but from the outside, this one is tough to see playing out powerfully.

-Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

Plexxi
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 12/18/2014
US Carriers, You're Going to Cuba!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/18/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive