HP's SDN App Store Open For Business Oct. 1

Hewlett-Packard said Thursday its SDN App Store will be open for business Oct. 1, giving its technology and channel partners a platform for selling SDN applications.

The store, first teased by HP last September, is accessible via HP's Virtual Application Networks (VAN) SDN Controller. The applications will cover a range of functions, including WAN bursting, network virtualization, distributed firewall and load balancing, and customers can buy and download them directly from the store.

The launch of HP's SDN App store underscores the fact that software-defined networking is quickly becoming a reality in the enterprise market, according to Jacob Rapp, senior manager of SDN marketing for HP Networking.

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"We really think this marks a shift in the networking community, or an inflection point, where software-defined networking is really going mainstream," Rapp said.

HP is encouraging its technology and channel partners to build and contribute apps to the store. To fuel the creation of those apps, HP last year rolled out its HP SDN Software Development Kit, which provides tools for building, simulating and testing SDN apps on top of the HP VAN controller. The kit, which HP said has more than 5,000 downloads to date, also provides API documentation and sample code for developers.

The HP SDN App Store out of the gate includes eight applications, including six developed by its vendor partners and two it developed itself. The partner-contributed apps include F5 Networks' BIG DDoS Umbrella application for DDoS protection near the network edge and KEMP's SDN load balancing software.

In total, HP said it has 30 technology partners working on applications to contribute to the store.

The applications built by HP include HP Network Protector, which enables automated network security assessments, and HP Network Optimizer for Microsoft Lync for automatically provisioning network policies and quality of service.

HP said all apps will be categorized as one of four types. Applications included in the first category, called The HP Circle, are those that are built and tested exclusively by HP; applications in 'The Premium Circle' are those considered to be top sellers and are jointly tested by HP and its partners; applications in The Partner Circle have been self-tested by HP partners and reviewed by HP; and, lastly, those in The Community Circle are what HP called "open access" or community-supported apps.

HP solution providers who are SDN certified are also able to sell applications in the store. In addition, these partners will receive an HP App Store discount that they can either use themselves or pass on to a customer. HP also offers a custom app service to help partners create their own applications, if they don't have the in-house programming experience to do so on their own.

Shannon Champion, business development manager at Matrix Integration, a Jasper, Ind.-based HP partner, said Matrix has been teaming with ISVs to create new vertical-focused applications that can work in SDN environments. The HP SDN App Store, he said, will give Matrix a platform for bringing those apps to market, while making it easier for customers to consume new SDN-focused applications.

"We're excited because it kind of makes [our apps] mainstream and gives us some more visibility. It also takes some of the complexity out. You just go to their controller and you can click a button and launch the app store. I hate to call it iPhone- or Apple App Store-like, but if it was the secret sauce and was successful with the iPhone, I definitely think it can be successful with SDN."

The HP SDN App Store will also be a showcase for HP Trusted SDN Security Deployments, a set of services designed to help customers integrate, deploy and support multiple SDN security applications on their networks. These services, HP said, can also be delivered through its SDN-certified partners.