Interop: HP Touts F5 Alliance, Software-Defined Networking Strength


Hewlett-Packard joined forces with F5 Networks to offer pretested virtual network and application management product sets, the two companies confirmed Tuesday.

Specifically, HP will market its Virtual Application Network offerings -- which leverage software-defined networking technologies such as OpenFlow -- with F5 application delivery network (ADN) products as part of validated packages, including for Microsoft Exchange 2010, server virtualization and disaster recovery deployments. Customers will be able to manage their network infrastructure and how their applications move around from a single dashboard in HP's Intelligent Management Center software.

HP introduced Virtual Application Network offerings in early April as a way to leverage the software-defined networking trend for an easily customized, virtual platform approach to networking. F5's Big-IP ADN controllers enhance that approach, said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking, in an interview with CRN.

"When we talk about virtual application networks, what we're talking about is characterization and automation -- configuring a network for specific applications," she said.

[Related: 25 Software-Defined Networking Players to Know]

At Interop in Las Vegas this week, HP also confirmed module updates to its Intelligent Management Center software aimed at simplifying how employee-owned devices are provisioned and monitored across wired and wireless networks.

One set of modules, directed at the bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, trend and also using F5 application delivery technology, offers single-platform device management. Another, HP Dynamic Virtual Private Network, automates how routers are deployed and monitored in branch offices. BYOD modules will be available in June starting at $2,739 list price, while Dynamic VPN modules are available now starting at $8,398 list price.

In addition to those modules comes a new HP 10500 campus core switch intended for media-intensive, high-performance applications. It supports four-port 40 Gigabit Ethernet when updated with new line cards and relies on HP's Intelligent Resilient Framework technology, which virtualizes multiple switches so they can be operated as a single switch. The 10500 is available now and is listed at $32,999.

In addition, HP FlexNetwork packages that include F5's Big-IP products will be available from both HP Technology Services and HP and F5 channel partners.

Mike Banic, vice president of marketing, HP Networking, said F5's ADN market dominance made it a logical choice as a partner. The two companies also share a number of channel partners, and Banic confirmed HP and F5 would work together on go-to-market planning along with the product allegiances.

HP also is adding several new assessments to its in-house HP Technology Services portfolio, as well as bolstering services offerings for the channel. Under HP's ServiceOne banner, partners will be brought in on network design, management and support services specific to HP Networking.

Expect more of those types of offerings, said Mayer, as HP Networking works to challenge Cisco's traditional market dominance.

"It's a promise I made when I started working in HP Networking," said Mayer, who formally took over last fall. "More and more, our focus will be on partners and how we can help deliver services that they can brand and deliver."