by Josh Shaman

HP Announces Software-Defined Network Fabric for Cloud

HP announced its data center network fabric built on HP FlexNetwork architecture that delivers 2X greater scalability and 75% less complexity over current network fabrics while drastically reducing network provisioning time. While some exisiting network fabrics require manual device configurations and limited bandwith, HP's new series of software-defined network (SDN) data center switches provide users with advanced automation and scalability for more bandwith. This new series which includes the HP FlexFabric 12900, the first OpenFlow-enabled core switch that can handle virtualized workloads, supports enterprise-level cloud, big data and virtualization.

HP's goal with their new series was to simplify network design and operations. Interweaving virtual and physical fabric enhances overall operation. The new HP FlexFabric Virtual Switch 5900v software operates with the HP FlexFabric 5900 physical switch. Together, they provide advanced networking functionalities including quality of service to VMware. Additionally, the Integrated Virtual Ethernet Port Aggregator (VEPA) technology paints a clear distinction between server and network operations. Another nod to simplicity comes via the HP Virtualized Services Router (VSR), which allows services to be offered on a VM, reducing the data center footprint by providing software-based Network Function Virtualization (NFV).

HP's new series also enables organizations to scale data center fabric to enhance performance. The HP FlexFabric 12900 Switch Series controls bandwith spikes with the built-in Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL). This technology enables data to be moved across networks 3X faster via 40GbE compared to other market offerings. HP FlexFabric 11908, the first OpenFlow-enabled aggregation switch, is designed for blade-servers and can improve virtualized application performance up to 50%. On top of these products, the HP HSR 6800 Router Series consolidates routing, firewall, and switching as well as a whole host of security services.

HP offers streamlined single-pane-of-glass management with automated application-acceleration and service delivery for SDN-enabled and traditional network devices. Users can improve performance by utilizing network services templates for automation with the HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC) Virtual Application Network Resource Automation Manager software. HP also offers monitoring and policy management application software, HP IMC SDN Manager, for use-cases including campus, branch and data center.

Aiding in the transition to the new products, HP Technology Services helps customers to best utilize their systems. They offer the HP Connectivity Transformation Experience Workshop to help create strategies to meet organizations' goals. Also, they provide the HP IPv6 Roadmap Service which gives administrators access to experienced consultants to develop a transition roadmap to IPv6. On top of these two offerings, HP offers HP Datacenter Care for Networking to give administrators a point of contact for support to fix network issues.

Pricing and Availability

HP FlexFabric 1000 vSwitch is expected to be available in October 2013 with pricing to come. HP FlexFabric 5900 switch series is now available at a starting pricing of $14,990. HP VSR Series will be available in the second half of 2013 with pricing to come. HP FlexFabric 12900 Core Switch should be available in October 2013 with pricing to come. HP FlexFabric 11900 Core Switch should be available in in June 2013 starting at $83,000. HP HSR 6800 Router Series is available starting at $46,000. HP IMC Virtual Application Network Resource Automation Manager and HP IMC SDN Manager are likely to launch in December 2013 with pricing to come.

HP Networking