LAS VEGAS: HP has added to its software-defined networking (SDN) products with the launch of an application that aims to let firms quickly create secure clouds and gain more flexibility around data centre networks.
Unveiled at HP Discover in Las Vegas, the Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application is a network virtualisation offering based on open-source standards, according to HP. It broadens HP's support for the OpenStack environment, integrating with the Neutron plugin on HP's Helion cloud platform, and works with HP's Virtual Application Networks SDN controller.
HP also launched two FlexFabric data centre 7900 switches, which the firm said offers power savings and lower total cost of ownership for cloud and SDN infrastructures.
Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager for HP's Servers and Networking Business, said that legacy networks are holding back the full potential of cloud in the data centre. "It's very complex to manage networks. Networks of today are not agile for the cloud speeds required for the business of tomorrow," he said.
"There's too much manual intervention in managing these networks."
Key to resolving all this is SDN, according to Neri, without which there can be no cloud computing.
Neri, pictured above right, said that the new SDN infrastructure HP has announced lowers cost by 35 percent, and along with Helion, HP's OpenStack-based cloud system, supports data centres that can scale up for the cloud with no lock-in or incremental hardware required. He added that firms can also save 50 percent on space requirements and 20 percent power in the datacentre with the FlexFabric 7900, of which 50 switches have already shipped.
Clive Freeman, UK chief technologist for HP's Enterprise Group, told V3 that the 7900 offers the required reduction in complexity for getting the most out of the cloud.
"Critically it enables people to start scaling up their SDN environment in the data centre," he said.
"I've seen some customers in the financial services space, they have 10,000-plus nodes in their data centres, and they need to rewire those things very dynamically several times a day. Doing that in a traditional networking environment is very difficult, but doing it in a software environment allows them this flexibility."
Jason Cohen, global chief information officer at DAS Group, a marketing services company, said that the need for this flexibility, and tools like HP's networking range, is due to the shift from offline to digital services.
"When I talk to my daughter about today's technology, we talk about house phones versus cell phones - I'm not even sure she knows our home phone number - we talk about TV shows versus technology like Netflix. Everything I've just described using those examples, demonstrates our industry," Cohen, pictured above left, explained.
"We've rapidly moved from an analogue world to a digital world, it is no longer a blur, everything is digital. Digital means that we need to, in real time, support our clients' needs with technology."
Cohen explained that with 100 different groups and 400 offices comprising the DAS Group, centralisation is key to supporting its clients and as such the firm has recently consolidated around 100 different entities into 3 data centres.
Cohen said there have been two key benefits from deploying the HP networking tools: security and time to market.
"Security - who in this industry doesn't hear about security every single day," he pointed out. "These technology tools have allowed us to provide our agencies and clients the best opportunity for secure data. Big data, we all talk about big data, but security goes hand in hand."
DAS Group has also been able to deliver services quicker to clients using the HP networking tools, according to Cohen.
"One of our divisions does field marketing. We could have a company say, ‘Hey you know what, we've changed our mind, we want to throw in a couple of service desks for the World Cup, can you make it happen?' If the client says we've got a change in strategy we have to change with them," he explained.
"What used to take weeks or months, now takes days. Our standards and our tools have given us the opportunity to service them quicker."
The HP Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application will be available in August, while the 7900 switch is available now, priced from $55,500.
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