Light Reading

HP Debuts SDN Management Software, Switches

Mitch Wagner

HP on Monday announced August availability for an SDN application to deploy virtual isolated networks that span both physical and virtual nets. The application is designed for multi-tenant cloud environments.

HP also announced new switches optimized for the software, and services to help companies implement SDN.

The HP Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application is designed for carriers needing to deploy cloud services to multiple enterprise customers and keep them separate and secure from each other, as well as for enterprises that need to deploy cloud services for individual business units.

The software and new switch are part of HP's broader SDN strategy, which includes SDN-optimized switches and routers, as well as two previous announced apps, Protector and Optimizer, to secure and optimize SDNs, says Kash Shaikh, global marketing leader, HP Networking. The new SDN application runs on top of HP's SDN Controller. (See HP's Building an SDN App Store, HP Beefs Up Its SDN Portfolio)

The new SDN application complements VMware NSX, which provides similar deployment and management capabilities for virtual networks, Shaikh said.

VCN is part of HP Helion OpenStack, which is based on the open source OpenStack with increased scalability up to 1,000 servers and 20,000 virtual machines.

If HP's promise to manage physical and virtual networks together sounds familiar, it may be because Cisco is touting similar capabilities in its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). However, ACI requires the Cisco Nexus switch to run, whereas HP's Virtual Cloud Networking application will run on any OpenFlow enabled switch (although HP, of course, has its own switches as well), Shaikh says.

Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers trash-talked HP last month, predicting a "brutal" consolidation among tech industry leaders and pointing to HP as one of the companies not likely to survive. (See Cisco's Chambers Predicts 'Brutal' Tech Consolidation.)

Of course, neither HP's Virtual Cloud Networking application nor Cisco ACI are shipping just yet. So basically HP is saying its non-existent product is better than the competition's non-existent product. I mentioned that to Shaikh; he replied that the HP software is nearly done, and that HP's controller is shipping while Cisco's is not.

FlexFabric Switches
HP's new FlexFabric datacenter 7900 switches support OpenFlow and VXLAN and are optimized for minimum space, power, and cooling requirements. The 7904 has four slots with 12 40GB ports each for a total 48 ports in a 2RU form factor, while the 7910 has 120 ports in a 4RU form factor. The 7900 switch series starts at $55,500, available now.

FlexFabric architecture speeds up the time required to move workloads on VMware vSphere vMotion by up to 80% compared with spanning tree protocols. The FlexFabric is optimized for east-west traffic, rather than north-south, Shaikh says.

HP also introduced new HP Trusted Network Transformation services for customers making the transition to SDN. It is "an end-to-end approach on de-risking the journey for the customer for the actual transformation itself," says Kitty Chow, worldwide portfolio marketing manager, HP Mobility and Networking Technology Services.

Let us pause to admire that phrase, paying particular attention to the words "de-risking the journey."

With the services offering, HP will work with customers on eliminating downtime while changing technologies, putting processes in place in case problems crop up, and changing the corporate culture to take advantage of SDN. When HP implemented SDN in its own data centers, it made the cut-over in less than 48 hours, transitioning 120 live servers with no downtime, Chow says.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/11/2014 | 1:32:13 PM
Re: HP Getting Very Active in NFV and SDN
Nice get on Prodip.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/10/2014 | 8:47:49 AM
HP Getting Very Active in NFV and SDN
HP is showing definite signs of making virtualization the centerpiece of a major focus on telecom. Witness their hiring of Prodip Sen, formerly of Verizon and the first chair of the ETSI NFV ISG to be the CTO of HP Network Functions Virtualization. 

Oh, and BTW, Prodip will be in Chicago next week for the ONF Workshop that precedes our Big Telecom Event. He is joining the panel discussion on standards and will, no doubt, have a lot to say about what HP has planned. 


User Rank: Light Sabre
6/9/2014 | 6:42:00 PM
48 hours would be impressive if the before/after details and experiences are known.
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