HP has been building momentum towards launch of its HP SDN App Store, an online marketplace that went live September 25th where ISV developers of SDN applications can market their wares and customers can access enterprise class SDN solutions vetted by HP. According to Stephane Kahloun, senior global product marketing manager, SDN, HP, the store embodies "HP’s vision of open innovation, open standards and allowing a broader ecosystem of partners to innovate on top of the network." It represents "one more piece in the puzzle," he claimed, in HP strategy aimed at shifting the network industry from a siloed framework in which "big institutional vendors" held innovation hostage in single stack appliances to a new, more inclusive market paradigm.
As of October 1st, the SDN store has six partner applications available for download:
- BlueCat DNS Director, which delivers network-driven enforcement of DNS policies and provides visibility and control through IP address management data to security infrastructure across all devices and applications.
- Ecode evolve, an SDN orchestrator that facilitates dynamic service provisioning with built-in quality of service and denial-of-service mitigation.
- F5 BIG DDoS Umbrella, which allows customers to implement network, application, DNS and SSL DDoS protection near the network edge, closer to the attacker.
- GuardiCore Defense Suite, which provides highly scalable, SDN-based network security for software-defined data centers, detecting and mitigating advanced persistent threats, malware propagation and insider attacks.
- KEMP Adaptive Load Balancer Application, which integrates with HP’s VAN SDN Controller solution to provide end-to-end visibility of network paths for optimal routing of applications across the server and switching infrastructure.
- Real Status Hyperglance, a management platform for SDN and hybrid cloud that offers a unified, full-scale, interactive topology view of infrastructure, featuring 360-degree navigation, intuitive monitoring and context-aware controls.
as well as two HP applications that were released over the last year:
- HP Network Protector, which enables automated network posture assessment and provides real-time security across OpenFlow-enabled network devices, and the
- HP Network Optimizer for Microsoft Lync, which enables automated provisioning of network policy and quality of service to provide an enhanced end-user experience for this application.
Describing the SDN App Store, Kahloun stressed that all offerings are "enterprise-grade," a market differentiator for the HP store, which entails a set of requirements to ensure applications are fully tested to HP standard, which allows purchase of HP services relevant to the app and SDN infrastructure, and that involves channel support for store purchases. "Ninety-five percent of HP activities go through the channel partner," Kahloun explained, "and SDN is no different." In the App Store context, this means that customers who consult with an HP partner to scope needs will be given a discount code that they can take to the store, and that partners will be compensated for this activity. While customers may access app support online from both the ISV partner and HP Technology Services, depending on which app is purchased, according to HP, the channel partner will continue to provide the services that it has in the past, such as needs assessment, solution consulting and integration services. For its part, HP Technology Services has introduced HP Trusted SDN Security Deployment services aimed at helping customers successfully integrate, deploy and support multiple SDN security apps on their production network, in addition to SDN Application and Controller Services and HP Foundation Care and Proactive Care, which are all accessed through the store.
Adopting an open stance to the selection of different applications, HP does not require that apps conform to OpenFlow or other interoperability standards, but has created a number of different app categories based on levels of support and the test processes that are involved. These include:
- The HP Circle, with applications built and tested exclusively by HP.
- The Premium Circle, containing applications that are top sellers and jointly tested by HP and its partners.
- The Partner Circle, encompassing applications that have been self-tested by HP partners and reviewed by HP.
- The Community Circle, offering open-access and community-supported applications to demonstrate open source and concept SDN applications.
Kahloun expects that the first three categories will consist of commercial, production apps that are proprietary, while the fourth will consist of open source or lab apps that the community "can play with" to demonstrate new capabilities. While this range of app offerings may imply complexity around interoperability, Kahloun added that HP has worked to ensure that each application is compartmentalized and will not affect another, and is engaged in internal testing and monitoring of customer implementations running multiple apps to test interoperability.
In terms of selection criteria, HP will work with ISVs that can deliver quality in the applications. There are currently 80 discussions underway with potential partners, 30 are in development, and the 6 that applications that have been made available at launch have been fully curated to ensure that these technologies will not introduce any vulnerabilities into the network. Apps that are now available appear to be focused on security, cloud and mobility, areas that certainly represent critical industry challenges, and HP will not select applications based on broad coverage or other guidelines: "the ecosystem is a free ecosystem," Kahloun stated. "We are looking at competition in a positive way. Some of these apps will compete with each other and that’s fine. That is what’s happening in the market anyways." Going forward, he believes that competition will continue as different providers, including HP, each "take a crack" at pressing IT concerns. He also expects it’s likely that new categories of application will evolve as customer needs — around Big Data, for example — come to the fore.
For the ISV partner, the value in this new approach lies in expanded market presence in the App Store, and ultimately, in the HP channel network. For HP, value resides in better service delivery: Kahloun noted, "What works for HP is what works for the customer. Over the years, we have built a portfolio of products that is SDN enabled. Today, we have 30+ switches that are SDN enabled, and there are over 30 million ports. But our core strategy has been to embrace open standards for networking. So for HP, a thriving ecosystem of partners that are innovating new concepts, new products and new ways of addressing problems that are more efficient is, at the end of the day, going to raise the value of our infrastructure. So not only will we have created this free marketplace, we have created the infrastructure on which this can happen."