HP Discover: The Cloud Can’t Happen Without SDN

Software defined networks (SDN) are essential or else cloud services will be held up, says HP as it launches a new FlexFabric for its Helion cloud

HP has launched a software defined networks (SDN) application which allows service providers to build and reconfigure networks a they need them, making cloud services easy to construct.

With storage and servers virtualised, networks are the one remaining barrier to cloud services said HP, as it launched the Virtual Cloud Networking Application at HP Discover conference in Las Vegas. The software sits on a newly-annnounced HP FkexFabric 7900 data centre switch, and is integrated into Helion, part of HP’s recently announced $1 billion cloud effort based on OpenStack.

Clouds need SDN

“No SDN means no cloud,” said Antonio Neri, the recently appointed head of HP Networking. “Software defined networks are critical for the journey to the cloud.

antonio nieri HP image by Peter Judge“Legacy networks are holding back agility,” he said. “There is a lot of human cost in managing these networks.”

Neri reiterated HP’s support for the OpenFlow standards for SDN. Challenged by the audience on why the company continues to make its own SDN applications, instead of using the output of the OpenDaylight industry group, Neri said that HP’s products are more reliable and “enterprise grade”.

“We are a member of the OpenDaylight group, but we are moving forward with our own controller,” said Dominic Wilde, vice president for the SDN products. “Over time we will be contributing more to OpenDaylight. The two are complementary, and will possibly come together.”

Wilde promised there would be no lock-in with HP’s SDN, and also defended the SDN community’s track of making more intelligent switches,when SDN had at first seemed to involve moving intelligence off switches and onto controllers. He said it’s actually about making networks simpler [to use and configure], not making hardware dumber.

“SDN redefines simplicity and flexibility,” HP vice president Bill Veghte told an audience of journalists at the Discover event. “Brittle silos of compute, storage and network: you and I, as computer scientists, would not have architected systems this way.”

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