HP recently announced the industry’s first open-standards-based software-defined network (SDN) technologies that span infrastructure, control software and application layers to help enterprises maximize simplicity and agility for data center, campus and branch networks.
Part of the HP Virtual Application Networks strategy, the new technologies include an SDN controller, SDN applications, SDN services and solutions that enable clients to abstract, program and automate the entire network, and provide a “single control plane” to increase network scalability and agility, while simplifying the deployment of applications and services.
As the industry increasingly moves to cloud and other computing environments, manual configuration of networks through command-line interface (CLI) coding has proven to be error prone and excessively time and resource intensive. While SDN overlay-point products provide a centralized control plane, they do not automate infrastructure configuration, nor do they provide SDN applications for campus and branch networks. This incomplete approach burdens clients with excess complexity and manual coding requirements.
“To solve the challenges created by legacy networks, organizations need the ability to automate the network from end to end by leveraging SDN to abstract the control plane from the physical infrastructure,” said Joe Skorupa, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner. “Software overlays alone are not enough. For maximum performance, utilization and simplicity, customers must ensure that there is orchestration of SDN technologies across the entire network—from the hardware infrastructure to the control plane to the applications—ultimately moving beyond today’s complexities to improve business agility across the enterprise.”
HP Virtual Application Networks offer an approach to SDN that goes beyond the value of the software overlay by providing programmability of the infrastructure along with automated configuration and SDN applications for campus and branch networks from a single control point.
“In the cloud era, clients need a single point of control for the entire network to deploy any application or service directly to the user within minutes,” said Ryan Guadalquiver, managing director and general manager of Enterprise Group, HP Philippines. “Today, only HP is positioned to provide clients with a complete software-defined network solution that automates manual configuration tasks across hardware, software and applications through a single control plane.”
Industry’s first complete SDN solution to increase network agility
Only HP is delivering SDN technologies composed of three critical layers—infrastructure, control software and application—to implement across the enterprise. These layers create a complete, open SDN hardware and software solution that enables a single point of control for the entire network.
The infrastructure layer delivers an open programmable access through OpenFlow, a networking protocol to automate hardware configurations. New SDN functionality in the infrastructure layer includes:
- OpenFlow-supported HP FlexNetwork architecture enabling clients to simplify network configuration with the addition of nine switch models, delivering a flexible and programmable standards-based interface. The new OpenFlow-enabled switch series, HP 3800, joins the 16 existing models of the product portfolio, making HP the only major networking vendor with more than 15 million installed OpenFlow-enabled ports.
The control-software layer abstracts control from the physical infrastructure to create a centralized view of the network. New SDN functionality in the control layer includes:
- HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller eliminates thousands of manual CLI entries by providing a centralized abstract view of all devices in the infrastructure to automate network configuration. This controller provides network managers the simplicity and flexibility to program and scale their network environment for running single-touch automated applications. It also provides application program interfaces (APIs) to third-party developers to integrate custom enterprise applications.
“We recognized the need to scale our firewall system capacity to ensure protection across CERN’s network infrastructure,” said Jean-Michel Jouanigot, communication systems group leader, IT Department, CERN. “Through HP’s software-defined network strategy, we are developing a load-balancing application for the Virtual Application Networks SDN controller to distribute network traffic across multiple devices including firewalls and servers, increasing simplicity while reducing cost and bandwidth bottlenecks.”
The application layer delivers open programmable interfaces to automate applications and enable access to infrastructure. New SDN functionality in the application layer includes:
- HP Virtual Cloud Networks software application delivers greater agility for large scale organizations by automating services across self-service cloud environments. It also runs on the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller.
- HP Sentinel Security application eliminates the complexity and expense of dedicated hardware appliances by delivering automated network access control and intrusion prevention security with existing OpenFlow-enabled switch hardware through a controller. It also runs on the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller.
“With x employees in x locations across the world, we needed to enable scalable security across HBO’s entire network infrastructure without investing in additional equipment,” said Walter Kerner, vice president, Network Services and IT Security, HBO. “To do so, we began working closely with HP on their breakthrough software-defined network-based Sentinel Security application, which delivers security across our existing hardware infrastructure, while improving business agility with simple network automation.”
Industry’s first SDN services portfolio focusing on people, process and technology
New offerings from HP Technology Services guide clients through SDN roadmap development, architecture creation, governance preparedness and proof of concept, and include services to design, deliver and implement on the promise of HP Virtual Application Networks. New SDN services include:
- HP Transformation Experience Workshop provides clients insight into SDN transformation benefits and IT implications from the perspective of people, process and technology.
- HP Network Provisioning Baseline Assessment Service helps clients assess the current network resource provisioning time required to deploy applications.
- HP SDN Proof of Concept Service helps clients assess and report provisioning time improvements achieved with HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) and HP Virtual Application Networks technologies.
Pricing and availability
- HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller is expected to be available worldwide by the end of 2013.
- HP Virtual Cloud Networks Application is expected to be available worldwide in by the end of 2013.
- HP Sentinel Security Application is currently available as an early access program to select customers.
- OpenFlow support is currently available on HP Networking switches as a software upgrade.
- HP SDN services will be available worldwide early 2013. Pricing varies according to location and implementation.
HP’s premier Europe, Middle East and Africa client event, HP Discover, takes place Dec. 4-6 in Frankfurt, Germany.