Both Cisco/Insieme Networks and the everybody-AND-Cisco-and-the-kitchen-sink OpenDaylight association have major software-defined networking (SDN) announcements scheduled for November and December, respectively, but it looks like HP’s networking group has spoiled their pending parties. At this week’s InterOp New York the world’s largest IT vendor and SDN wunderkind even before there was an SDN ( 2007’s Ethane), has announced the HP SDN Developer Kit (SDK) and the HP SDN App Store, as well as a suite of services and certifications.
“We’re really moving the market forward while removing the barriers to software defined networking,” Kash Shaikh, Senior Director, Product and Technical Marketing, HP Networking, told IT Trends & Analysis. A significant part of the announcements is that HP is working with partners on this, a” complete and comprehensive ecosystem”, including Microsoft, Intel, SAP, Citrix, VMware, Riverbed and F5, he said.
With these announcements HP is putting a stake in the ground, with the intent of being a leader, not a follower, said Shaikh. “This is a pretty significant step, pretty aggressive… but this is what the market needs, what the customer needs to solve the networking problems.”
Customers really need this, agreed Kitty Chow, Worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager, Technology Services, HP Networking. “The network has been a barrier; that’s where the services element comes in and provides value. With a single click you can get services.”
With SDN the networking industry has an opportunity to disruptively innovate and is now primed for a monumental leap forward, said Bethany Mayer, SVP and GM, Networking, HP, in a prepared statement “HP has created the industry’s most comprehensive SDN product portfolio as well as an open SDN ecosystem, which offers an environment for enterprises and partners to rapidly tune the network to their business and application needs.”
Applications are what will drive SDN technology into mainstream networking prominence, said IDC analyst Rohit Mehra, VP of Network Infrastructure, in another canned comment. “The catch 22 is that to innovate through applications requires a large investment in infrastructure to develop, which becomes prohibitive. The advent of an SDN App Store, together with an SDN Developer Kit, makes this an accessible alternative for developers.”
Like Cisco and OpenDaylight, HP is not above making announcements in advance of delivery. In this case it and BFF VMware announced plans to collaborate on the industry’s ‘first’ federated network solution that will provide customers unified automation of, and visibility into, their physical and virtual data center network. Although not due to be available until the second half of next year, HP said it will provide a centralized view, unified automation, visibility and control of the complete data center network, improving agility, monitoring and troubleshooting, essentially federating SDN with network virtualization.
The numbers vary widely, depending upon the source, but IDC predicts the SDN market will be worth $3.7B by 2016, driven by the growing need for scalability and network programmability. Two newer reports state the market will be worth $3.52 billion by 2018, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 61.5% from 2012 to 2018, and that SDN and NFV (network functions virtualization) are poised to revolutionize carrier OSS and profoundly change the way service providers manage their networks.
A couple of months ago a Brocade study highlighted just why SDN is generating such interest. While 75% of enterprises have updated their IT environments in the last three years, 91% of IT decision-makers stated that their current IT infrastructures still require substantial upgrades, and 33% admitted that their organizations experience multiple network failures each week. More than half, 61%, said their corporate networks are not fit for the intended purpose, with 41% admitting that network downtime has caused their business financial hardship either directly through lost revenue or breached SLAs or from their customers’ lack of confidence.
That’s not to say SDN is ready to solve networking’s most pressing challenges anytime soon. At this summer’s GigaOM Structure conference SDN took a beating, with the conclusion that the jury really is still out on it. SDN was also deemed not relevant for a variety of use cases, and it was also roundly declared a loser, and something that hasn’t really changed in the years since it has hit the network scene.
SDN is a journey, said Shaikh, that will take at least five years. However, there are steps customers can take now. HP believes its developers’ kit and App Store will both accelerate that journey, and make it an easier transition.
Pricing and availability:
-HP SDN App Store will be available the first half of 2014;
-HP SDN Developer Kit will be available in November 2013;
-HP SDN Developer Support will be available in November 2013;
-HP SDN Apps Services and Support, and Services and Support for the HP OpenFlow products will be available in the first half of 2014;
-HP Virtual Application Network SDN Controller target pricing starts at $495;
-SDN Learning Journey curriculum is available now;
-SDN Certification will be available starting in December 2013;
-HP’s MSR routers are available as of September 30, 2013 and pricing starts at $1,000; and,
-HP’s Virtual Services Routers (VSR) are available as of September 30, 2013 and pricing starts at $500.