HP To Add Open, 'Brite Box' Switches

HP announced it will be adding Open Network Switches to its portfolio, reflecting an industry migration away from proprietary, locked-in networking solutions and toward software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and associated new technologies.

The new switches target Web-scale enterprises, providing more choices to customers in open network environments and allowing them to configure datacenter environments to their own needs for cloud, mobile, social and Big Data use cases.

HP is partnering with Accton Technology Corp. and Cumulus Networks to deliver the new network switches early next month. HP described the branded white box switches as being among the first in a new category called "brite box" switches. "Network decision makers can reduce cost, improve management and enable long-term innovation using 'brite box' switches versus traditional switching approaches," Gartner Inc. analysts said last December in hawking a for-sale research paper titled, "The Future of Data Center Network Switches Looks 'Brite'". 

With the Cumulus partnership, HP is bringing the open switches to customers running the Cumulus Linux OS on cloud datacenters. "With Cumulus Linux networking OS as part of the new HP-branded open network switches, customers will be able to leverage the rich and expanding configuration, management and orchestration tools available through open source and commercial Linux communities to develop cloud data center environments that best fit their business," the company said in a statement.

Two switches enabling 10G/40G spine and 10G leaf datacenter deployments will run on the Cumulus Linux OS, featuring zero-touch OS installation using an open network installation tool. Pricing will be announced next month with general availability of the switches.

HP was No. 2 to powerhouse Cisco Systems Inc. in the Ethernet switch market according to recent research from IDC:

HP is competing with Cisco and other vendors facing SDN and NFV disruption, trying to position itself for the new era of openness and interoperability. While Cisco is participating in some open networking initiatives, it offers its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) as a superior approach to SDN. HP appears to be placing more emphasis on open technologies.

"In the second half of 2015, HP will expand the line to include 25G/50G/100G switches for higher performance Web scale datacenters and 1G switches to address unique customer needs," the company said. "HP will also expand the hardware and OS software choices to meet emerging customer requirements. The expanded offerings will enhance customers' ability to tailor their networking infrastructure to meet the specific applications and workload requirements."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.