LAS VEGAS -- Software-defined networks (SDN) have the capability to provision applications in minutes instead of months, and speed deployment into the cloud, according to the head of HP Networking.
During her Interop keynote address Wednesday morning, Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking, said SDNs overcome the rigid, single-tenant architectures and manual management routines of today's networks. They overcome the 250,000 or so command line interface entries she claims are now required to deploy a typical data center application, which takes months.
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"In order to get to the cloud you have to deploy applications quickly, Mayer said in her keynote. "The network today is rigid, architected for a single tenant. It has to be architected for more than one user. You have to go box-to-box to change the configuration. And 70% of errors occur in the manual entry of CLI (commands)."
SDNs allow administrators to focus less on managing the infrastructure and more on connecting users to applications, Mayer said. They enable a single point of control for network configuration and application provisioning, she said, which in and of itself should be key in speeding deployment.
Mayer then explained how HP's Virtual Application Network, based on the company's FlexNetwork network infrastructure architecture, can provision a Microsoft Exchange application in three steps that take minutes. This is enabled through an SDN that virtualizes the network by separating the control plane from the physical infrastructure, templates that characterize and profile the application, and automated orchestration that optimizes the network to enforce the service-level policies defined for it and enable dynamic provisioning, she said.
"To deploy an Exchange VM, you build a profile with a template, choose the connection profile, power on the VMs, and the application is deployed in minutes in three steps," Mayer said.
This is in stark contrast to the daunting prospect of cloud deployment HP rival Cisco found in a cloud survey released this week. Nonetheless, Cisco is also preparing an architecture for programmable networking.
HP customer DreamWorks Animation joined Mayer on stage to endorse the company's SDN vision and products. DreamWorks has been an HP customer for 10 years.
"Virtual Application Networking is what we're looking forward to," said Derek Chan, head of global technology operations at Dreamworks. Chan showed two clips from an upcoming 3D movie - Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted -- produced with virtualized HP computing and networking gear during the keynote.
DreamWorks has three studios worldwide that have eight to 10 films in active production at any one time, Chan said. It takes three to five years to create a feature-length, digitally animated film, requiring "many CPU hours in the cloud" and half a billion files taking up 200 terabytes of storage per movie.
The animation company's studios in Glendale and Redwood City, Calif., and Bangalore, India, deploy 14 million CPU hours in an offsite HP switch cloud in Las Vegas. DreamWorks employs HP's Intelligent Resilient Framework technology to virtually group four HP switches together and avoid the limitations of Ethernet's Spanning Tree Protocol, Chan said.
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