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HP, VMware aim to unify data centre networks

SDN, virtualisation to provide common infrastructure across physical, virtual networks

Raj: Networks must be agile enough to enable the adoption of cloud and mobility while ensuring continuity.
Raj: Networks must be agile enough to enable the adoption of cloud and mobility while ensuring continuity.

HP and VMware Inc announced plans to collaborate to deliver "the industry's first federated network solution", designed to provide customers unified automation of, and visibility into, their physical and virtual data centre networks.

As companies embrace cloud and mobility, manual network configuration has proven to be error prone and costly in terms of time and resources. Network virtualisation offers a centralised control plane, but does not automate configuration and provisioning of physical network devices.

The new HP-VMware networking solution is said to "federate" the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller with the VMware NSX network virtualisation platform to provide an integrated approach to automating physical and virtual network infrastructure. The networking solution is designed to provide a centralised view, unified automation, visibility and control of the complete data centre network.

"Networks must be agile enough to enable the adoption of cloud and mobility while ensuring continuity," said Gautam Raj, networking sales director, HP Middle East. 

"Building upon our SDN leadership, the HP-VMware networking solution unifies visibility and automation of the physical and virtual network with a common control plane, enabling new application and service delivery in minutes rather than months."

A typical cloud data centre network may require 10,000 provisions per day, each requiring at least 20 network command line changes. These 200,000 command line changes would require 3,333 man hours to complete, assuming 1 minute per command, HP calculates. The HP-VMware networking solution promises to eliminate manual configuration of both the physical and virtual data centre networks through interoperable automated orchestration of policies.


The HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller also will include support for VMware Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) management protocol. According to HP, this enables HP FlexFabric switches to participate in the automated provisioning of the virtual network, which will be delivered by VMware NSX network virtualisation platform.

"Customers are adopting network virtualisation to gain the necessary agility needed to realize the promise of virtualised and cloud data centres," said Stephen Mullaney, senior vice president and general manager, Networking And Security Business Unit, VMware.

"To be successful, IT organisations need solutions to deliver common management of services and operations across the physical and virtual domains. By collaborating with HP on a federated networking solution, we will help our joint customers create a unified network operations model that will radically simplify IT in the software-defined data centre."

The HP-VMware networking solution and HP ConvergedControl are expected to be available worldwide in the second half of 2014. HP FlexFabric 5930 is expected to be available worldwide in December 2013.