HP Expands SDN Hardware and Cloud Efforts

HP announces new FlexFabric 7900 switches and Virtual Cloud Networking software for SDN and the SDN-enabled cloud.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jun 10, 2014
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At its Discover conference this week, HP announced new technology to further enable its software defined networking (SDN) vision. The new hardware is the FlexFabric 7900 switching gear, while the new software is the HP Virtual Cloud Networking (VCN) application.

HP has been talking about SDN for several years at this point, and the Virtual Application Network (VAN) controller has been a cornerstone of the vendor's overall strategy since February of 2013.

Now VAN is being expanded with the new Virtual Cloud Networking (VCN) application, which links HP's software defined networking efforts with its Helion cloud efforts. HP officially announced Helion at the beginning of May, marking a new $1 billion effort to build a cloud platform based on the open-source OpenStack technology.

The basic idea with VCN is that secure isolated virtual networks can be automatically enabled for a Helion cloud deployment.

"In helping modernize our customers’ networks and transition to a cloud environment, HP is focused on software for the flexibility it brings—cloud as it's meant to be can’t be accomplished without SDN," Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager of networking at HP, said in a statement.

The VCN solution is set for availability in August of this year. VCN will join other HP software defined networking applications, including the Network Protector technology originally known as Sentinel. HP announced the re-branded Network Protector SDN application in March of this year.

HP has been talking about a broader SDN marketplace for applications since September of 2013. The full HP SDN Marketplace has not yet been made publicly available.

On the hardware side, HP announced the FlexFabric 7900 switch series, which is optimized for SDN deployment. Among the supported protocols are the VXLAN and NVGRE tunnelling specifications.

The FlexFabric 7904 switch chassis has four I/O module slots and can support up to 48 x 40 GbE ports and provide up to 3.8 Tbs of switching capacity.

The FlexFabric series switch is already available, and HP has stated that pricing starts at $55,500.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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