Interop 2012 – HP Networking Innovations on Display

This is post is a long time coming, but starting a new job will do that :)

I’ve long wanted to attend the Interop tech conference and was able to attend the Las Vegas installation this year by invite from HP/Ivy Worldwide. I was really hoping to make the Mumbai show, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget. It’s primarily a networking focused conference, but with datacenter virtualization technologies converging (you may have heard the term Converged Infrastructure), virtualization admins cannot afford to pass off more complex networking infrastructures to a ‘networking guy’.

One of the primary themes of the show was the Software Defined Network which enables networks to be more agile and application driven. HP announced their Virtual Application Network (VAN) as an abstraction from the physical network in many of the same ways that server virtualization has abstracted physical servers.This abstraction will allow for a more robust and orchestrated network that is able to deploy new applications in a fraction of the time it would normally take a large enterprise, allowing them to respond to needs more quickly and more efficiently. Sanjay Jotshi, Director, HP Networking, HP India said “HP’s Virtual Application Networks solutions ensure that our clients are able to transform their networks to securely embrace the demands of new devices and rich applications with a unified approach.”

HP’s VAN will tie into their ever expanding Intelligent Management Center (IMC) to enable it to be a centralized tool to deliver new applications from an enterprise’s datacenter to any employee device without the need for “thousands of CLI commands”. This attack on the CLI comes in a long line of HP’s recent innovations to take the human error out of datacenter operations (see their Smart Socket Guide in the Gen8 servers).

The VAN also has modules available for IMC that will provision, secure and manage employee owned devices. I hesitate to call it (or anything that simply secures devices and gives file share/remote desktop access) a true BYOD plan. BYOD in my eyes is more about native application delivery rather than remote access to data though a delivered desktop or webapp, but I digress.

The invited bloggers got a very thorough tour of the HP booth on the showroom floor. Some of the cooler innovations on display were a monster router stack, a few endpoint devices and their DVPN (Dynamic VPN) solution. The router setup included a 6600 campus router and was setup with a Spirent config pushing 108 million (yes million) packets per second! The DVPN was impressive as it takes the labor out of building and load balancing secure tunnels between campuses/remote offices. We were able to watch a new router come online, be discovered, and have a new tunnel be built within seconds. Of the endpoints we saw were a rugged external wireless router that includes a mini heater inside for when temps dip and is also waterproof for when you drop it in the tub, as well as a network drop that was not only a 4 port wall mount jack, but a wireless access point with a 400ft range.
HP Networking seems to be on a roll since acquiring 3Com 2.5 yrs ago and is making some large inroads (see Dream Works/HP love fest). Once again, kudos to Ivy Worldwide for putting together a great event with great access to executives and the technology being showed off.


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