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A perfect storm for enterprise networking – and a way through it


By Ron Irvine, HP Global Portfolio Consulting Director for Mobility and Networking


Ron Irvine.small.jpgWith increasing scrutiny and urgency, enterprises are using words like “responsive” and “enabling” to describe what they need from IT – and IT is feeling the pressure of remaining relevant to the business.


Three major factors are creating the “perfect storm” for enterprise networks:


1. The commitment to decades-old network designs. While the compute and storage towers of the IT trinity have taken significant steps in design principles to be scalable, programmable and application-aware, network design principles have remained basically static for decades. This has exposed the network as the laggard in the IT trinity of compute, store and network.


2. Networks have become absolutely mission critical to the enterprise. Recent headlines are full of cases where enterprise network failures have had devastating impacts. Plus, networks have a degree of complexity beyond the compute and store domains, for the simple fact that the network touches everything, and everything relies on the network.


3. Consumer IT platforms continue to offer more and more choice both for individuals and the enterprise overall. IT leaders – who once represented the only game in town – now face competition from these consumer-friendly, cloud-based platforms. Any weakness in IT’s ability to deliver at the speed of the business represents a serious threat to IT’s ability to remain relevant.


There’s good news, though, for the managers of networks (and for IT overall). Advances in network design principles and the supporting technology are here. Software-defined Networking (SDN) represents an enormous breakthrough, and agile, programmable, application-aware and elastic networks are now truly within sight.


As I wrote in a previous post, SDN is a game-changing technology that will create the transformational journey we will take, both as individual businesses and as an industry. That’s why you may want to take a look at the news out of VMworld this week, where HP and our longtime partner VMware announced that the industry’s first federated network solution is now generally available as a standalone or as part of HP Converged Systems.


The HP-VMware Networking solution federates our HP VAN SDN Controller and VMware’s NSX network virtualization platform. It hugely improves visibility into your physical and virtual data center networks, and helps you build a network that’s agile and responsive to business needs. It's a lighthouse beacon in the storm that's engulfing networking.


If you’re ready to make the move to SDN but don’t know where to start, stay tuned – I’ll cover that in my next blog.


IMPORTANT UPDATE 9.19.14: My blog on how to make the move to SDN is now posted here: HP Trusted Network Transformation: Helping you find the right road to SDN


Watch this blog for more big SDN announcements from HP coming up just in time for Interop New York, Sept. 29–Oct 3. Come and chat with our networking experts in booth No. 121 at the event.


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