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Application Aware Networks


By Brian Quah, Datacenter Consulting Practice Manager


quah_badge_tcm_245_1359544.pngRecently at ONF Open Networking Summit, HP and Microsoft demonstrated how Software Defined Networking (SDN) can enable a Quality of Service (QoS) for applications which is not possible on traditional networks (see Phil Edholm’s article HP and Microsoft Demo OpenFlow-Lyn Applications-optimized Network). Traditional networks have their control and data paths merged together in hardware. Switches manage application QoS based on CoS/QoS marking (TOS/DiffServ bit) on packets, and this is processed on a switch by switch basis. If one of the switches is overloaded, even higher-level QoS packets can be dropped, hence affecting the quality of experience of applications. Endpoint communication flows are always defined on a single predetermined path on the network based on existing networking protocols such as STP and OSPF.


SDN-based networks are different from traditional networks because in SDN the control and data paths are separated. When applications have the ability to dynamically provide to the SDN network controller the IP addresses/ports of the paired endpoints of a real time flow, a separate SDN connection (data path) can be set up to facilitate direct communication between endpoints. Switches can dynamically set up a data path which is separate from the control path. HP has demonstrated that applications can communicate directly to HP SDN network controllers (HP VAN Controller); the network can enhance endpoint communications. HP Virtual Application Networks are complete, end-to-end solutions that enable businesses to create scalable, agile, and secure networks that streamline operations.


Virtual Application Networks.JPG

 Many Network Architects see the value to SDN but are unable to leverage the technology due to legacy network design and hardware. Furthermore, they are worried that SDN-based solutions will render their existing technical capabilities obsolete. Therefore it is important to look at SDN technology as part of their IT transformational journey in their network lifecycle. IT organizations need to develop an IT Transformation Program to leverage SDN capabilities and benefits. In the Transformation Program, existing network infrastructure will be moving gradually to SDN by first enabling applications to talk to the network via API, as has been demonstrated by HP and Microsoft. L4-L7 devices such as Application Delivery Controllers can be leveraged to assist in this migration process. Equipment refresh cycles can be synchronized with this Transformational Program to optimize the Network investment process.


HP Technology Services offers consulting services that help IT organizations transition to SDN. Network Consulting Services for SDN provides customers with expertise, reference architectures, and a proven methodology focused on people, process, and technology. HP Technology Services consultants leverage expertise from thousands of different IT transformation projects across the world, and HP’s own recent data center transformation.


Learn more about HP’s approach to Software Defined Networks.


To learn more about me and how I can help your organization realize the best return on its Network investments, check out my HP Technology Expert profile.


At HP Discover 2013 this month, we announced groundbreaking new cloud-ready networking services. Read how we can help you prepare your network for the cloud.

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