HP sets out software-defined networking app store plans

Hardware giant takes wraps off SDN developer kit and app store.

App store

HP is set to shake up the delivery of software-defined networking by launching an  App Store, accompanied by an SDN developer kit to provide partners with the ability to create their own SDN applications.

The new apps store allows organisations to download SDN applications direct to their HP virtual applications SDN controller, meaning that, for the first time, there will be an eco-system created around the use of SDN.  The apps will be provided by HP and its partners.

"This is unique," said Mike Banic, HP's VP of marketing, "no-one else is offering SDN apps in this way."

For users' safety and to avoid rogue apps  all applications in the store will need to be approved by HP.

To be effective, the technology has to be used throughout the organisation.

"SDN has to span the whole network from the datacentre to where the user sits," said Banic. "You can't have two SDNs one for the datacentre and one for campus".

He said the SDN apps store would provide a wider range of applications to help this process. "We're going to eliminate the human middleware that has plagued vendors," he added.

There has been plenty of talk about SDN and how it could impact on a company infrastructure, Banic used issues with Lync as an example of where SDN would play a part.

"We all sort of experience a certain level of what I'd describe as misery with Lync. There are times when I take calls and can't hear what's being said and realise it's because they're on a Lync phone that's because the network isn't aligned to the application," he said. "The only way to improve it is to have an SDN app that works with Lync.

"It's like commuting to work, if the road gets too congested, I'm not going to get through," he added.

The new offering is already being used by some of HP's customers. "We have been testing SDN applications on the HP VAN SDN Controller to automate our network services, decrease complexity, and lower operational costs across the various buildings comprising the department,"  said Charlie Orgish, manager of distributed systems at the electrical engineering department of Stanford University.

"We are collaborating with HP to build more innovative applications for our network as it expands into other research networks," Orgish added.

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