UPDATED 18:18 EDT / JUNE 14 2013

Bethany-Mayer NEWS

Software-Defined Networking Makes the Network Responsive to the Business

Bethany Mayer, SVP & GM at HP Networking, discussed trends in fabric, software defined networking, network behavior, and security with theCUBE co-hosts John Furrier and Dave Vellante, live at HP Discover 2013.

“The business has continued to go very well, we’re at our 14th consecutive quarter of growth for HP Networking,” Mayer said. “We’re shipping now a whole new line up of products,” including the newly released SDN controller.

Talking about SDN, Mayer said that “there’s really about what it does from a benefits perspective from the business.” The network used to be the main issue when adding apps, going to the cloud, having a Big Data application, the problem was how to provision it in the time frame the business needs it to be.” It also helps a lot with automation. “These are huge changes that need to happen anyways,” she added.

“The fabric discussion of old was about boxes, when in reality what you’re talking about is this connective tissue that goes between server storage seamlessly and that can deploy applications in a quick, connected manner, and than connected tissue can be everywhere,” it does not have to be a bunch of boxes put together, Mayer explained.

Asked about the savviness of customers when it comes to fabric, Mayer said “they ask you what your fabric is, what exactly is your fabric strategy and the discussion that we have is around virtualization of fabric. Our fabric strategy is a software fabric strategy, it is not core density strategy.”

HP has a SDN-enabled BYOD solution that provides access, control of where people can go, fingerprinting, Mayer said. “We also use our SDN security application to enable security all the way down to the switch board. It does what we were trying to do with security for years, dissolve a function like security into the fabric.”

Mayer said that Microsoft’s Link is “an application that is generally pretty hard on the network”, as people want to run video simultaneously, or share their desktop, from a networking perspective, you have to over-provision the network. “With SDN, it goes away.” HP’s SDN controller integrates Link and frees resources. It handles encryption of data as well. “You’ve now overutilized a network without adding more bandwidth.”

Asked about HP’s security involvement, Mayer said they didn’t have any new announcements, “we work very closely with our business unit, the idea is to utilize our controller as a platform for a lot of security applications, to be able to provide them across the network. Instead of a hardware box, it’s going to be more of a software platform,” she explained, adding that HP is the only company that explore that idea.

“A lot of attacks are low lying, they hang out for a while.” To deal with this issue, Mayer explained, the fabric itself has to be secure. It has to be able to sense it, “you’ve got to have a fabric that is secure in itself and wonderful analytics” and then dynamically modify the network to stop it.

“It really is all about the application,” Mayer said. “Whether it is a business application or it’s going to the cloud, the network has to have the tools and respond. The only way to enable apps to be deployed quickly is to change the paradigm of that network, and that is what we do with SDN, the network can dynamically change its behavior” to respond as needed.

As far as HP Networking’s milestones for the next twelve months are concerned, shipping the SDN controller is the priority according to Mayer. “After that it’s working with partners to create applications to offer our customers. There are some really great things that can be done now with our APIs,” therefore she forecast an explosion of these apps.

“OpenStack is one of the orchestration platforms that our SDN controller supports,” she stated. “Our focus has been on OpenStack for the cloud and cloud orchestrations and our SDN controller” when it comes to APIs. The goal with SDN is to enable “a network that does not require human intervention,” Mayer stated. You see it in storage, why not in network.”


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