HP doesn’t have anything as monumental as Cisco‘s Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI) to announce, but it does get to take a swipe at Cisco. HP is emphasizing that it’s following through on an SDN strategy based on one controller announced a couple of years ago. Cisco, by contrast, introduced an alphabet soup of acronyms for SDN and will have to maintain non-ACI SDN plans, at least for a little while, for the customers that don’t intend to make the transition.
“We’ve been talking about the same framework with the same controller for two years,” says Kash Shaikh, HP Networking’s global marketing leader. “Our strategy has been consistent, as opposed to reacting to the market.”
Network Virtualization Beyond VMware
The SDN announcements at Discover will be headlined by Virtual Cloud Networking (VCN), HP’s answer to network virtualization. Like any other network virtualization, it’s about the creation of temporary tunnels to connect network ports.
VCN is an application that’s part of Helion, HP’s OpenStack-based cloud environment, the idea being to provide something analogous to VMware‘s NSX but for other hypervisors, such as KVM. It’s intended to run on HP’s SDN controller but can run in any network that supports OpenFlow, and it doesn’t require any HP hardware.
“The key is not only to be able to deploy the app in the cloud quickly; it’s the scale, to many thousands of tenants,” Shaikh says.
VMware and HP are still partners, Shaikh says. In fact, they’ve been working on federating HP’s controller with NSX, giving HP switches a view of the virtual as well as the physical network. HP discussed this when NSX was launched in August, noting the feature would arrive in the second half of 2014, and that’s still on track to happen, Shaikh says.
On the hardware side, HP is announcing the FlexFabric 7900, a modular switch for cloud buildouts, aiming for compactness. Specifications weren’t available at press time.
HP is also announcing the Trusted Network Transformation, which is essentially an SDN consulting service. Its goal is to match a company’s SDN goals to its business goals and to make sure “that you can function and operate in your future state,” says Kitty Chow, HP’s worldwide portfolio marketing manager.
Big Changes in HP Networking
Discover is arriving at a particularly busy time for HP Networking. The division has recently seen a change of leadership, a bigger commitment to the OpenDaylight Project, and the launch of an initiative around network functions virtualization (NFV). Here’s what’s been going down during the past few months:
- HP’s NFV Mission: An Interview with SVP Bethany Mayer
- Prodip Sen, Verizon’s Former NFV Guy, Joins HP
- HP Gets Even More Serious About OpenDaylight
- HP Networking Names a New Head: Antonio Neri
- HP Starting an NFV Unit, Led by SVP Bethany Mayer
And don’t forget the SDN app store that HP announced in September. If you’re wondering whatever happened to that, Shaikh says the store itself is ready, but HP is still honing the applications that would fill the shelves. He expects the app store to launch later this year.