HP to introduce open network switching technology

HP partners with Accton Technology and Cumulus Networks to deploy open network switches for web-scale cloud datacentres

HP is set to introduce a line of open network switches for the datacentre to offer web-scale organisations more flexibility and control of their datacentre networks in support of cloud, mobile, social and big data workloads.

HP said this would give web-scale customers more choice in open networking environments and enable them to fine-tune their datacentre networks to suit their requirements.

“The complexity of web-scale workloads and increasing customer demands for network services are challenging the scalability and agility of cloud datacentres,” said Antonio Neri, senior vice-president and general manager at HP Enterprise Group. He said the move would underpin HP’s commitment to open networking.

The new switches, which will be backed with worldwide local support and services, mark HP’s entry into the relatively new category of whitebox switching, an area in which Dell already has a similar offering.

HP will partner with Accton Technology and Cumulus Networks to bring its open network switches to market. Taiwan-based Accton develops and builds open network switching hardware, while Cumulus Networks will provide a Linux-based networking operating system.

“Modern datacentres need great physical networking using layer 2, layer 3 and overlay architectures that are optimised for higher scalability, faster service delivery, and backed by a robust ecosystem,” said JR Rivers, co-founder and CEO at Cumulus Networks.

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“This open networking approach to web-scale datacentre networks empowers customers and gives web-scale IT the opportunity to serve the business better,” said Rivers.

HP claimed its whitebox products – which it calls brite box – will differentiate it from competitors due to the firm's global presence and support and consulting expertise.

It added that total cost of ownership for customers should be substantially lower due to the use of standards-based hardware and streamlined software, which could reduce acquisition and operating expenditure by up to 68%, although it has not yet released details of price points.

The collaboration will begin with the introduction of two open network switches to enable 10G/4G spines and 10G leaf datacentre deployments, with Cumulus Linux OS and zero-touch OS installation using an open network install environment loader.

The line card will expand to include 25G, 50G and 100G switches for higher-performance datacentres later this year. New hardware and operating system software options are also planned.

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)