HP’s SDN App Store: Worth Waiting For?

It’s still early days for software-defined networking (SDN), but it is gaining momentum in both the enterprise and cloud service provider markets, and HP’s SDN App Store will ‘accelerate ROI with integrated and validated while enhancing network agility.’ There has been strong interest in SDN in general, and the App Store specifically, said Jacob Rapp, Senior Manager of SDN Marketing and Interim Global Marketing Leader, HP Networking. So it was important to get it right, rather rush to market, he told IT Trends & Analysis.

“Customers have been really interested for a very long time… but they were a bit tired of hearing about technology”. They wanted to know what can this do for me today, what value can it bring, he said.

It’s taken HP a little longer than expected to launch the App store, which was initially announced a year ago and will officially open its doors October 1. According to the Enterprise Strategy Group, the key for HP, like it was for Apple, will be to attract as many network services and apps into the development process as quickly as possible to create a robust storefront.

Originally targeted for the first half of the year, the store was delayed by the complexity of putting the infrastructure together and integrating it with HP’s various partners. Customers were involved from the initial announcement, providing a lot of feedback, said Rapp. The app store is new concept for enterprise and especially for networking. “They had fears of angry packets running through their networks.”

The store features four application categories, defined by their support and test process:

-The , with applications built and tested exclusively by HP;

-The , containing applications that are top sellers and jointly tested by HP and its partners;

-The Partner Circle, encompassing applications that have been self-tested by HP partners and reviewed by HP; and,

-The , offering open-access and community-supported applications to demonstrate open source and concept SDN applications.

There are 8 initial applications, two from HP and six from partners:

-HP Network Protector enables automated network posture assessment and provides real-time security across OpenFlow-enabled network devices;

- enables automated provisioning of network policy and quality of service to provide an enhanced end-user experience;

- delivers network-driven enforcement of DNS policies that allow security infrastructures to gain complete visibility and control through IP address management data across all devices and applications;

- is an SDN that facilitates dynamic service provisioning with a built-in quality of service and denial-of-service mitigator. Streamlining network design, change simulation and automated policy provisioning, it accelerates operations;

- allows customers to implement network, application, DNS and SSL DDoS protection near the network edge, closer to the attacker;

-GuardiCore Defense Suite provides highly scalable, SDN-based network security for software-defined data centers, detecting and mitigating advanced persistent threats, malware propagation and insider attacks, at an early stage;

-, integrated with the HP VAN SDN Controller solution, provides end-to-end visibility of network paths for optimal routing of applications across the server and switching infrastructure; and,

- is a hybrid cloud and SDN simplified-management platform that provides a unified, full-scale, interactive topology view with 360-degree navigation, intuitive monitoring and context-aware controls for confident insight and action.

The 8 apps are just the beginning, said Rapp. There is a backlog of 30 applications in various stages, and approximately 80 developers involved.

HP said the app store completes the final piece of the SDN ecosystem by offering a ‘vibrant, robust marketplace of innovations that supports more than 5 million users and provides support to customers as they migrate to SDN.’ The company said interest has been strong, with its Virtual Application Networks (VAN) SDN Controller downloaded more than 3,000 times, and the HP SDN Software Development Kit downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Rapp said that while developers were expected to be doing most of the downloads, over a thousand customers participated, and more than a 150 are in various stages of SDN deployment. “We’re very happy with the early adoption.”

Customers were always a critical element, agreed Kitty Chow, Worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager, Technology Services, Networking, HP. “I think the concept of enterprise-ready is something we focused on very closely”. We obviously don’t believe organizations are going to make big change in their networks without understanding the benefits, she said.

According to IDC, SDN is nearing the $1 billion mark ($960 million) for the year, and will shoot past $8 billion by 2018, representing a not-too-shabby compound annual growth rate of 89.4% during that five-year period. Even better, from HP’s perspective, IDC predicts that the market for SDN network applications will reach $1.1 billion by 2017.

“With SDN’s growing traction in the datacenter for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations,” said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC. Although enterprises are largely still testing the waters to see what benefits will accrue from SDN, IDC sees the enterprise market as a major driver of overall SDN growth over the next several years.

In March HP got together with NEC to announce an SDN collaboration to deliver infrastructure and open standards–based SDN solutions. It closed out the month at Interop Las Vegas, announcing a set of cloud-managed, http://wp.me/p2FWwi-XE SDN-enabled unified wired and wireless networking solutions.

At June’s Discover event HP called the network IT’s weakest link and provided a report card on its SDN progress, including the shipment of 30 million OpenFlow-capable (i.e. SDN) ports. The current IT is limited by complexity, said Antonio Neri, SVP & GM, Servers and Networking Business Units, HP. “We believe no software-defined networking, no cloud!”

“We’re ready to roll,” said Rapp. “We have some very large customers with over 30 of our controllers out there in their networks.” Customers should be very confident in this, he added. |It’s not only enterprise ready, but really ready to roll out on the market.”

In other software-defined-everything news from HP, the company also announced a free terabyte of software-defined storage. The hook is that you have to buy an Intel Xeon processor E5 v3-based server, but in another unusual move HP is including servers from Dell, IBM and Lenovo too.

Author: Steve Wexler

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