HP Expands Open Networking Push

HP has launched a new switch that runs a Linux distribution on processors developed by Accton Technology Corp. The switch, a disruptor to Cisco's hold on the networking market, is being pitched to IT service providers and carriers, which are considered more cost conscious and forward-thinking than their enterprise counterparts. Here are the details.

Mike Vizard, Contributing Editor

February 19, 2015

2 Min Read
HP Expands Open Networking Push

With the launch of a new switch that runs a distribution of the Linux operating system, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) today has significantly expanded its commitment to open networking.

Based on processors developed by Accton Technology Corp. and a distribution of Linux developed by Cumulus Networks, HP is initially making a 10G/40G and 10G switches available. In the second half of 2015 HP is also committing to expanding that line of switches to include 25G/50G/100G switches and a set of 1G switches.

Reducing the cost of networking

Philippe Michelet, senior director of global product management for data center and orchestration at HP, said the switches developed by Accton using processors from Broadcom are based on specifications unique to HP. The goal is leverage Accton processor manufacturing muscle alongside a Linux operating system to dramatically reduce the cost of networking using white box, alternatively known as brite box, switches, said Michelet.

Managed service providers leading the way

While enterprise IT organizations have been traditional conservative when it comes to adopting new networking technologies, Michelet said that managed service providers and carriers are at the forefront of adoption. As providers of networking services, many of those organizations have taken note of the Web-scale technologies that have been adopted by organizations such as Facebook and Google. Now HP is making that networking technology available in a form that is supported by engineering team at a commercial vendor that eliminates the need for the MSP or carrier to build networking infrastructure from the ground up themselves.

In addition, Michelet added that HP will leverage its investments in HP Helion managed services to bring the open source OpenStack management software to this new class of switches

Reza Malekzadeh, vice president of business at Cumulus Networks, noted that there are now six vendors, including Dell, selling network equipment based on the network operating system developed by Cumulus.

In general, Malekzadeh said as the amount of network horsepower being made available using either x86 processors or commercial silicon continues to increase, organizations are reducing the complexity of the networking environment by consolidating switches. That not only reduces the cost of the networking infrastructure it also lowers the total cost of managing the networking environment, said Malekzadeh.

Disrupting Cisco

Obviously, all the move towards open networks is designed to usurp Cisco (CSCO) as the dominant provider of networking equipment. Those efforts may take some time to come to fruition. But as MSPs, carriers and builders of Web-scale IT infrastructure all move towards open networking models it’s only a matter of time before significant portions of the rest of the enterprise starts to move in the same general direction.

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About the Author(s)

Mike Vizard

Contributing Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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