HP: 'Software Defined Networking is already mainstream'

Enterprises and telcos are actively using software defined networks; beginning to open APIs and create app stores so developers can create useful applications to improve security, cloud usage and BYOD, according to HP.

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Enterprises and telcos are actively using software defined networks; beginning to open APIs and create app stores so developers can create useful applications to improve security, cloud usage and BYOD, according to HP.

Since its first steps in the SDN space back in 2007 with beginings of OpenFlow, HP, said that the SDN era is readily upon enterprises who are now looking at new ways to reimagine security infrastructure and to ensure migrations to the cloud are successful.

Further, businesses are increasingly opening APIs to allow external developers to create applications that will help the business take advantage of the SDN,  said Jacob Rapp, global leader of marketing at the NetEvents IT symposium in Portugal. He added that organisations will benefit from apps like those provided by its partner Gaurdicore, which offers scalable network security products.

In the past enterprises have been unable to see whether an attack within East-to-West traffic in the datacentre - which is difficult to firewall, was malicious or a simply a result of end-user misconfiguration. Gaurdicore has developed software to block threats, while keeping a session alive. It will rewrite the session to the honeypot to monitor, allowing the enterprise to analyse and decipher potential threats from accidents.

Businesses need to do more than simply open up its APIs to external partners, but need to create backend sales opportunities, Rapp added. This will lower the barrier for developers to monetise with an accessible go-to-market platform.

"All of these things need to be built in for this [app ecosystem] to be successful, [it needs to be] more than just a portal with APIs."

Battle of the SDN giants

Rapp's comments came during a debate with competitor Dell's vice president Arpit Joshipura.

Joshipura added that SDN apps will help enterprises automate manual or proprietary processes, improving agility.

While HP may appear to be ahead in the SDN space, with an app ecosystem for businesses to put in place, Joshipura argued that Dell can offer the same results but with a hybrid approach, essentially cutting costs.

The Dell lead defined the SDN landscape, adding that the vendor has learnt from its own customers who have taken a hybrid approach.

He said: "The end result might still be the same [as HP’s] but the path you take, and the approach you take to get there is different. There are two extremes, with us somewhere in the middle. One extreme is hardware defined datacentre. We don't expect networking to be mainframe led in the next ten years.

"The other extreme is 'I'm so smart as a customer' that I will take Cisco switches or HP switches and put it all together; and we have learnt from them -  especially web and cloud guys who have implemented SDN, but don't call it that.

"You learn from that. But they do it all because they have it staff and networking is their business. Enterprise is in the middle. They don't want proprietary but don't have staff."

Joshipura added that Dell will help enterprises to utilise the telcos methods to give a means to work toward implementing a SDN without the price of an end-to-end solution offered by vendors like HP.

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