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HP Piles On Cisco in New SDN Announcements

Amid vendor squabbling among companies such as VMware and Cisco about competing next-generation data center technologies, HP was up for a little Cisco-bashing of its own when it announced new cloud computing and software-defined networking (SDN) products at this week's HP Discover conference in Las Vegas.

Featured in the many new offerings were: the HP Virtual Cloud Networking SDN Application, an open standards-based network virtualization solution; the HP Helion Self-Service HPC, a private cloud product running on HP's OpenStack-based cloud platform; and the HP FlexFabric 7900 switch series, which supports the OpenFlow standard managed by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and the Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN) specification originally created by VMware, Arista Networks and Cisco.

In describing various new products, HP exec Kash Shaikh led off a blog post with a reference to Gartner analyst Mark Fabbi's recent disparaging remarks about Cisco's datacenter networking strategy, wherein he said "a reactive vendor isn't a leader."

"We couldn't agree more," said Shaikh, senior director of product and technical marketing. "We announced our complete SDN strategy almost two years back and we have been leading and consistently delivering on this strategy to take you on a journey that doesn’t require forklift upgrades."

HP's technology comparison
[Click on image for larger view.] HP's Technology Comparison (source: Hewlett-Packard Co.)

In case there was any doubt about Shaikh's target, he included a product comparison chart that indicates Cisco's solution requires: "fork-lift upgrade, additional hardware cost ACI/Nexus 9000." He also noted HP "doesn't require specific switch hardware for its cloud-based SDN solution."

Networking powerhouse Cisco has been criticized for an inconsistent approach to the advent of SDN technology, eventually developing its own flavor of the same -- Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) -- with proprietary components such as Nexus 9000 switches.

Of course, Cisco has been a willing participant in the back-and-forth, with CEO John Chambers recently stating the networking industry was in for a "brutal consolidation" that will see competitors such as HP fail and vowing the company was going to win back customers and "crush" competitors such as VMware.

Anyway, for those interested in speeds and feeds more than snarky sniping, HP's announcements are summarized here:

  • The HP Virtual Cloud Networking SDN application integrates with the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN controller and uses OpenFlow for dynamic deployment of policies on virtual networks such as those using the Open vSwitch implementation and physical networks from HP and others, HP said.

    "VCN [Virtual Cloud Networking] provides a multitenant network virtualization service for KVM and VMware ESX multi-hypervisor datacenter applications, offering organizations both open source as well as proprietary solutions," the company said. "Multitenant isolation is provided by centrally orchestrated VLAN or VXLAN-based virtual networks, operating over standard L2 or L3 datacenter fabrics."

    The SDN application will come out in August with the company's HP Helion OpenStack cloud platform release.

  • The HP Helion Self-Service HPC is designed to make high-performance computing (HPC) resources easier to use through an optimized private cloud.

    "This new solution provides a self-service portal that makes using HPC resources as easy as using a familiar application -- thereby making them accessible for more staff," the company said. "The solution also makes HPC accessible and manageable for organizations by allowing them the choice to manage it themselves or have HP HPC experts implement and manage it for them through a pay-for-use model that lets them stay focused on delivering products and innovation."

  • The HP FlexFabric 7900 switch series, available now with a $55,500 price tag, is described as a compact modular switch targeting virtualized datacenters that supports VXLAN, Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) and OpenFlow. HP said the switch supports open, standards-based programmability via its SDN App Store and SDK. The switch federates HP FlexFabric infrastructure via a VMware NSX virtual overlay. It provides 10GbE, 40GbE and 100GbE interfaces.

HP also made a number of other product announcements, including: new HP Apollo HPC systems; enhanced all-flash HP 3PAR StoreServ and HP StoreOnce Backup applications; an enhanced HP ConvergedSystem for Virtualization platform for IT as a Service; an HP Trusted Network Transformation service to help customers with on-the-go network upgrades; and an HP Datacenter Care Flexible Capacity pay-as-you-go model.

The company said the new offerings "enable a software-defined datacenter that is supported by cloud delivery models and built on a converged infrastructure that spans compute, storage and network technologies."

Shaikh was more pointed in his summary of the market, including one more shot at Cisco. "While some niche vendors only address certain aspects of datacenter and cloud, others are taxing customers with a series of disjointed, proprietary and expensive hardware-defined fork-lift upgrades," he said. "Meanwhile, HP has been leading in software-defined networking since its beginning in 2007 and has the most comprehensive SDN offering."

Posted by David Ramel on 06/11/2014 at 11:41 AM


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