HP launches software-defined networking app store

Companies running HP's software-defined networking compliant infrastructure will be able to buy apps to implement network services ranging from security to orchestration.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

HP today announced it will launch an online app store for its software-defined networking (SDN) infrastructure.

The HP SDN App Store is designed to offer a central repository of software that changes the behaviour of HP's software-defined networking switches and other equipment, in order to support new functionality such as security and load balancing.

Companies using HP's SDN infrastructure will be able to buy apps from the store, which will be populated with software from HP and its partner companies.

IDC predicts that the market for SDN network applications will reach $1.1bn.

Software-defined networking provides a way to virtualise network infrastructure to make it simpler to configure and manage. Software is installed on network equipment such as switches and routers that links them back to a central control application, running on a server or virtual machine.

From this controller, admins can write and rewrite rules for how network traffic, data packets, and frames is handled and routed by network infrastructure. HP SDN infrastructure utilises the widely-used OpenFlow protocol.

Each SDN app sends commands to the SDN controller API, which then relays the desired behaviour to the SDN-compliant switches and other infrastructure. In this way, functions that previously may have be carried out by a dedicated appliance sat on the network, such as screening DNS requests, can be replaced with an SDN app, said Sean Brown, UK and Ireland director for HP Networking.

Brown gave the example of Network Protector, one of the launch apps for the store, that screens DNS lookup requests for sites known to be sources of malware.

"Previously you wouldn't have deployed that capability at the edge of the network, you would have deployed that capability within the network in an inline [intrusion protection system/intrusion detection system]-type device," he said.

HP has split the apps available through the store into four categories — the HP Circle, those built by HP, the Premium Circle, those built by HP and its partners, the Partner Circle, those built by HP partners but reviewed by HP and the Community Circle, for open-access and community-supported applications to "demonstrate open source and concept SDN applications".

The store is launching with eight applications, two developed by HP and six by its partners. These are:

  • BlueCat DNS Director delivers network-driven enforcement of DNS policies that allow security infrastructures to gain complete visibility and control through IP address management data across all devices and applications.
  • Ecode evolve is an SDN orchestrator that facilitates dynamic service provisioning with built-in quality of service and denial-of-service mitigation. Streamlining network design, change simulation and automated policy provisioning, it accelerates operations.
  • F5 BIG DDoS Umbrella allows customers to implement network, application, DNS and SSL DDoS protection near the network edge, closer to the attacker.
  • GuardiCore Defense Suite provides highly scalable, SDN-based network security for software-defined data centres, detecting and mitigating advanced persistent threats, malware propagation and insider attacks, at an early stage.
  • KEMP Adaptive Load Balancer Application, integrated with the HP VAN SDN Controller solution, provides end-to-end visibility of network paths for optimal routing of applications across the server and switching infrastructure.
  • Real Status Hyperglance is a hybrid cloud and SDN simplified-management platform that provides a unified, full-scale, interactive topology view with 360-degree navigation, intuitive monitoring and context-aware controls for confident insight and action.
  • HP Network Protector enables automated network posture assessment and provides real-time security across OpenFlow-enabled network devices.
  • HP Network Optimizer for Microsoft Lync enables automated provisioning of network policy and quality of service to provide an enhanced end-user experience.

HP customers are able to download the apps and test them out ahead of live deployment and HP is also offering a variety of support and consulting services to help customers integrate these apps into their production networks.

The HP SDN App Store will be generally available on 1 October.

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