HP Bolsters 'Open SDN Ecosystem' With SDN App Store, Dev Kit

Hewlett-Packard Monday unveiled a new application developer kit and application store purpose-built for software-defined networking (SDN) environments.

The new HP App Store and SDN Developer Kit (SDK), introduced at the Interop 2013 event, taking place in New York City this week, represent the company's latest bid to build up an open ecosystem of partners and applications around its SDN portfolio.

"We have invested heavily in SDN and have been leading in this space for quite some time," said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking. "And we really do have a vision to change the networking industry using software-defined networking."

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The HP SDN App Store, according to Mayer, will serve as an open marketplace for HP partners to create and sell SDN-specific applications. Applications will cover a range of functions, Mayer said, including WAN bursting, network virtualization for multitenancy, distributed firewall and load balancing.

HP Sentinel, a security application that automates network access control and intrusion prevention, will also be included in the store.

The HP SDN App Store will be deployed in the first half of 2014, Mayer said, and can be accessed through HP's Virtual Application Networks (VAN) SDN Controller.

The new SDN Developer Kit is meant to fuel the creation of new apps for the HP SDN App Store, Mayer said. The kit will be available to HP AllianceOne partners, along with independent software developers, and provides tools for building, simulating and testing their SDN applications. Specifically, the kit will provide API documentation and sample code for developers to build new applications directly on the HP VAN SDN controller.

Developers will also have access to what HP called an "SDN simulation suite" to test their applications' performance and interoperability with other applications.

Mayer said HP technology partners including Intel, VMware, ShoreTel, Microsoft and SAP have already registered for the HP SDN Developer Kit.

Some HP channel partners, however, are also looking to develop SDN applications and contribute to HP's store.

"We're signing up as one of the partners in the ecosystem and are looking at some specific applications that our customers and running, and maybe assisting them with some customization aspects," said John Barker, president and co-founder of Versatile Communications, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and HP partner. "It's definitely a little bit of a different aspect for us, being a network integrator, but it's a differentiator we think we need to embrace moving forward. SDN and customization of network applications are going to take off."

NEXT: HP Touts 'Open' SDN Strategy

HP's new SDN App Store and Developer Kit underscore HP's commitment to building out an ecosystem of partners and technology that embrace an open and collaborative approach toward SDN, HP's Mayer said, adding that Cisco hasn't taken this same open approach.

"We are very open standards based," Mayer said. "'Open' will not be a word [Cisco] uses a lot. But, open standards is really how we base our strategy and how we are going to build this ecosystem and have, in fact, already built this ecosystem."

Cisco did not immediately respond to CRN's request for comment.

Mayer also noted that HP is adding support for OpenFlow -- the open standards-based switching protocol -- for 10 more routers in the HP FlexNetwork portfolio, including the MSR2000, 3000, 4000 and HP Virtual Services Router (VSR) Series routers. HP had previously committed to adding OpenFlow support to its entire HP Networking line by the end of the year, and Mayer said the company is on track to meet that goal.

HP also announced Monday its SDN Learning Journey program, a set of training initiatives for both IT professionals and partners aimed at helping them learn how SDN solutions are reshaping the way networks are built, programmed and managed. The SDN Learning Journey initiative is part of HP's broader ExpertOne program.

For channel partners, Mayer said HP is now offering an SDN roadshow with a similar training curriculum, along with SDN-specific partner certifications.