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HP and VMware unify data centre networks

09 Sep 2013

HP and VMware have today 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, enabling business agility and improving business continuity.

As companies embrace cloud and mobility, the companies say manual network configuration has proven time and resource intensive, as well as error prone.

Network virtualisation offers a centralised control plane, but does not automate configuration and provisioning of physical network devices.

The new HP-VMware networking solution will federate the HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller with the VMware NSX network virtualisation platform to provide customers with an integrated approach to automating their physical and virtual network infrastructure.

The networking solution will provide a centralised view, unified automation, visibility and control of the complete data centre network, improving agility, monitoring and troubleshooting.

“A hybrid model blends the device-based and the overlay models, transparently mixing physical and virtual devices under a common control plane," says Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa.

According to Skorupa, this approach promises a rapid time to value, support for bare-metal endpoints (servers, networking, security appliances and so forth) and a smooth migration to an optimal mix of endpoints.

“Networks must be agile enough to enable the adoption of cloud and mobility while ensuring continuity,” adds Raymond Maisano, country manager, HP Networking, Enterprise Group, HP South Pacific.

“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.”

Automating physical and virtual infrastructure

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.(3) 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. It also will create a single view of the network—both physical and virtual.

The HP Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller also will include support for VMware Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) management protocol. This enables HP FlexFabric top-of-rack 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 realise the promise of virtualised and cloud data centres," says 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.”

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