Light Reading

HP's Building an SDN App Store

Ray Le Maistre

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 HP Inc. (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        ADD A COMMENT
sam masud
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.
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.
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.
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)

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (1) comment

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

11|16|15   |   1:28   |   (0) comments

Huawei, together with Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, hosted the Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event gathered industry experts and senior executives of global electric power companies to discuss emerging industry trends including: improvements in new energy conversion efficiency, reduction of line losses ...
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Sprint, Verizon Face Reorganization, Job Cuts
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Mobily CEO Ahmad Farroukh talks to Steve Saunders about the realities of being a mobile operator in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.