HP evolves networking channel strategy with SDN App Store

HP is set to launch an app store for software defined networking (SDN) and virtual networking applications which the company said will improve access to virtualised networking tools and help speed up their deployment in enterprises, writes BCN.

The app store will serve as a platform for HP customers to download SDN-enabled and virtual networking applications and tools – networking monitoring tools, virtual firewalls, virtual load balancers and the like – developed by HP as well third parties and open source communities.

The company has come up with four application categories, each entailing varying degrees of certification and partner support.

“Our customers are eager to transform their network architecture into a competitive advantage, and SDN applications make that possible,” said Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager, servers and networking, HP.

“With the HP SDN App Store, we have completed the final piece of the SDN ecosystem,” Neri said.

At launch the store will include two applications developed by HP (HP Network Protector, HP Network Optimiser) and six partner applications developed by Kemp, F5, and BlueCat among other networking technology incumbents.

The move is an extension of HP’s network function virtualisation play announced earlier this year.

In February the company released its own NFV architecture, OpenNFV, which it pitched at telco’s as a tool to help reduce the cost of running their networks, and make network function orchestration more flexible and scalable.

With the SDN app store HP will be taking that pitch and broadening it to enterprises, bringing many of the tools deployed or used to manage their datacentres to market.

But the move also marks an evolution in HP’s channel strategy – and the SDN channel strategy more broadly. The ‘appstore-isation’ of SDN hasn’t really been attempted yet, and with $1.11bn by 2017 up for grabs in the SDN network applications market (according to IDC) HP’s willingness to give it a go is notable despite the nascent nature of the technology.

It will be interesting to see if it manages to attract a wealth of networking technology incumbents and ISVs to the store, and how quickly they manage to move their applications, appliances and tools through the platform.

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