Hewlett-Packard executives outlined their software defined networking (SDN) strategy, position in the market and made a few bets on when the technology will go mainstream. The bet: SDNs will be deployed enterprise-wide in 2015 and represent a $2 billion market in 2016.
The HP presentation is one in a series of Webcasts designed for customers and Wall Street to highlight key business units such as networking and software.
According to Bethany Mayer, general manager of HP Networking, the company is planning to utilize its position as a large player in the market to push SDN. VMware made a splash with its acquisition of Nicira and SDN acquisitions have become common. HP's argument is that its specialty in automating the data center as well as a large footprint of customers make it a leading SDN player.
"The network has been for many, many years a very complex infrastructure, very fragile, very difficult to manage and change and as a result, many CIOs have really struggled with making changes to respond to their business using the network, and so our focus within HP Networking and everything we do is focused around simplification of that," said Mayer. "Everything we do with regard to thinking about operating expense for the CIO focuses on ensuring they can automate as much as possible within the network."
Mayer's case revolved around HP's partnerships and focus on open standards. She also noted that HP is a large No. 2 to Cisco and can serve as a counterweight.
What's unclear is whether SDNs will ultimately curb hardware sales. HP seemed to indicate that it will be able to sell more converged systems, but the wrinkle is router and switch sales could take a hit. What if SDNs enabled companies to offload networking intelligence on a cheap server?
Mayer said the differentiator would be the networking intelligence software and virtualization. Of course, HP would then run into VMware.