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Why open is the best policy for software-defined networking?

By Ahmad Zamer, HP Networking Sr. Global Product Marketing Manager


az.jpgThe discussion around software-defined networking (SDN) will reach a fever pitch as the industry convenes at Interop in Las Vegas in early May.


As you delve into what SDN can do for you, it’s critical to demand an SDN strategy that’s grounded in open, standards-based technology for not all vendors’ SDN approaches are open. Understanding the nuances means the difference between the ability to freely design your data center to meet your business needs—or living with more of the same inflexibility and vendor lock-in.


At HP Networking, we firmly believe that an open, standards-based approach to SDN is right—for our customers, for the industry, and for the SDN community and ecosystem. That’s why we have taken a leadership position in the standards bodies that are developing OpenFlow and other SDN enabling efforts.


SDN automates your network


Previously, you had to tell your users that it would take weeks to deploy a new application. With SDN, your users can have their new applications in minutes as manual provisioning of the network gives way to self-service. The automation benefits of SDN mean that your data centers network can handle, with grace and agility, the rapid growth of server and desktop virtualization, the move to cloud computing, the explosion of mobility, and the surge of big data.


Free up your administrator’s time


No doubt, your network administrators have bemoaned the fact that every time they need to change the network, they must manually configure switches and routers, device by device. OpenFlow reduces that tedious, hands-on work because it opens up networking devices for simplified programming via a standard interface. Having an open, standards-based way to program and configure the network allows the network to become far more agile to adapt to business needs.


HP has been instrumental in developing OpenFlow technology from its earliest days. And we were the first vendor to make complete OpenFlow software solutions commercially available on switches.


Simplify the network architecture


Meeting the realities of virtualization, the cloud, mobility, and big data are placing unprecedented demands on the data center network. A simpler approach to network architecture is needed to deliver that required performance and resiliency.


HP Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF) switch virtualization technology helps you build a simpler, flatter data center network, and removes the need for a dedicated aggregation layer. With IRF, you can create a network fabric that has more direct, higher capacity connections between your users and network resources. You can also manage the IRF fabric as a single device using a single IP address; thus simplifying networking management.


Scale up to the cloud


Today’s applications are demanding more and more performance—often at a moment’s notice. But one major roadblock has been the inability to expand Layer 2 network domains. That means if you want larger, more flexible application pods in your data center, then you need a larger, more flexible data center L2 network.


The Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) has been used for a long time in Layer 2 configurations, but the protocol is clearly showing signs of advanced age. STP is simply unable to keep pace with today’s data centers with high density virtual machines and workload mobility.


TRILL is an IETF open, standards-based replacement for spanning tree protocol. As with OpenFlow technology, our engineers are taking an active role in the development of TRILL, The combination of IRF and TRILL provide customers with the ability to create highly scalable networks as each IRF fabric appears as a single routing bridge in TRILL configurations. With HP open standard implementation of TRILL, customers can create larger L2 networks that can support vMotion and enable dynamic and automated workload mobility across the network.


Evolving toward SDN


HP is continuing our industry-leading vision for software-defined networking and making major strides with HP Virtual Application Network solutions to help organizations like yours to deliver comprehensive, end-to-end service delivery in the data center.


We’re making some important announcements around simplifying data center networks at Interop.


Visit our Interop website to stay up to date and to join us in the SDN discussion.


>> For more information visit


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