HP is looking to create an open ecosystem around its software-defined networking (SDN) products by planning an App Store for its Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller.
It will also make available a developer kit to facilitate the creation of apps, both by customers and partners, to upload to the App Store.
The HP SDN Developer Kit will be available from November, providing developers and customers with tools to create, test and validate SDN applications using HP's own SDN platform, chiefly the Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller, which is available as either software or as a physical appliance.
Meanwhile, the HP SDN App Store is due to open its doors in the first half of 2014, and is intended to offer a marketplace from which HP partners can sell SDN applications directly to customers, which can then be deployed on their network with little more than a mouse click.
This is an approach reminiscent of the app stores that have sprung up in the mobile arena following Apple's iTunes App Store for the iPhone, and HP would seem to be hoping to replicate some of that success.
HP said that nascent SDN technologies offered organisations the ability to rapidly automate network configuration and deployment of new services, but that customers could easily find themselves locked into proprietary solutions that might eventually hold them back.
With its SDN Developer Kit and the App Store, the firm is aiming to deliver a more open ecosystem, albeit one based on its own platform, according to Bethany Mayer, senior vice president for Networking at the firm.
"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," she said.
The SDN App Store is planned to include applications developed by HP itself, applications jointly developed with partners, and partner-certified and community-created applications. Taking another leaf out of Apple's book, every application made available through the HP SDN App Store will be approved by HP first, the firm said.
To develop these, HP SDN Developer Kit provides API documentation, developer guide and sample code to help developers to build, simulate and validate enterprise-grade SDN applications on the Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller.
HP also said it will offer new support services to help customers build and deploy enterprise SDN solutions, as well as SDN Developer Support and SDN Apps Services and Support.
At the same time, HP said it has extended support for the OpenFlow protocol, to 10 new routers in its HP FlexNetwork portfolio, including the HP MSR2000, 3000, 4000 and HP Virtual Services Router (VSR) Series routers. HP said that over 25 SDN ecosystem partners are already registered for the HP SDN Developer Kit, including include VMware, Intel, Microsoft, F5, Mitel, Websense and others.
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