By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated April 01, 2014.
Not content to rest on its cloud-managed software-defined networking (SDN) laurels -- and with market competition rising -- HP announced new SDN-enabled unified wired and wireless network solutions at Interop Las Vegas on Monday.
The new HP Cloud Managed Network Solution, IEEE 802.11ac wireless access points and SDN applications aim to help enterprises large and small increase network agility and simplify network management. Designed with mobility support in mind, HP said it can now deliver mobile end-user experiences at triple the speed of competing solutions.
“Our customers are telling us that their networks are primarily cost centers that are too complex to manage, while they are at the same time facing increasing end-user demand for a better mobile experience,” said Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of Networking Business Unit and Network Functions Virtualization Business at HP. The new products are part of HP’s response.
Tackling Complex Infrastructures
The HP Cloud Managed Network is all about addressing the increasing complexity of legacy network infrastructures. Targeted at small and mid-size businesses and distributed offices, the solution promises to lower total cost of ownership by reducing the need for onsite IT staff. HP also says upfront costs dip 30 percent with its pay-per-cloud service model.
To help IT professionals struggling with providing a high-quality end-user mobile experience, HP is rolling out the new HP 560 and 517 IEEE 802.11ac wireless access points. The solutions, HP said, make it possible for organizations to increase the number of mobile devices on their networks at speeds three times faster than 802.11n.
Meanwhile, the HP 560 access points will be OpenFlow-enabled, which makes it possible for customers to leverage SDN applications without having to rip and replace existing infrastructure. And the new HP SDN Roadmap Services let businesses know what’s coming down the pike so they can plan.
HP is working to bridge the gap between wired and wireless control with new controller appliances that offer policy management consistency across wired and wireless networks. According to the company, the solution does away with so-called swivel-chair management.
Adaptable, Robust, Easily Deployed
“Enterprises need adaptable, robust, easily deployed and secure wireless LAN solutions as more users are accessing the enterprise network via mobile devices while increasingly using these devices for mission-critical applications,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president of Network Infrastructure at IDC. “SDN-based and cloud managed wireless solutions will provide tools that offer network managers greater flexibility and scalability and, more importantly, programmability of networking resources to support the needs of their businesses.”
HP is also supporting bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives through partnerships with Citrix and MobileIron on the mobile device management (MDM) front. These MDM solutions will integrate with the HP Intelligent Management Center platform. HP is also rolling out a new HP Location Aware SDN application that locates wireless-enabled devices indoors with two-meter accuracy.
Finally, HP Communications and Media Solutions has developed a proof-of-concept application called SmartShopper that aims to help companies forge stronger relationships with their customers and monetize their networks by serving up real-time, location-based offers to smartphones.
The HP Cloud Managed Network Solution and the HP 850 Unified Wired-WLAN Appliance. The HP 560 802.11ac Access Points are available now for $1,199. The HP 517 Unified 802.11ac Wall Jack will be available in May for $499. The HP 870 Unified Wired-WLAN Appliance is available now for $35,999 while the HP 850 Unified Wired-WLAN Appliance will be available in June. Secure BYOD Services and IP Address Management Services are available now globally, while the SDN Roadmap Services will be available in June. The HP Intelligent Management Center MDM Integration is also available now.
We caught up with Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, to get his take on the new products. He told us managing the coexistence of local and mobile networks has become a flash point for enterprises as they grapple with BYOD, reliance on smartphones and tablets, and hybrid applications and data connectivity.
"Not only are performance and continuity issues top of mind, but managing these heterogeneous network hops with security, privacy and governance concerns addressed has been a huge problem," Gardner said. "So HP has identified a major pain point for early adopters and a burgeoning one for mainstream enterprises. Software-defined networks help make the management and governance of heterogeneous environments much more a science than an art."