HP is positioning itself to do the same thing to the network (hardware) industry as VMware did to the server (hardware) industry.
The idea of an automated network capable of responding to the demands of cloud has taken a step forward with HP’s OpenFlow announcement. Time will tell how serious HP ultimately is about SDN, and building out a more software-centric networking line that can flank the incumbents; regardless, this announcement indicates that they’ve figured out how to acquire and partner their way into the tent. HP could ultimately grow the tent by doing to the network what VMware did to the server.
See Cisco and the Networking Industry: Golden Age or Golden Fleece? for background on the coming battle between software-centric and hardware-centric networks and why software will ultimately triumph. You can also search on the term “infrastructure 2.0″.
SDN will enable more robust features and functionality, more scalability and more interoperability. It could give network hardware outsiders like HP, Dell and even VMware a competitive advantage over any existing hardware-centric provider still steeped in lock-in and product incrementalism.
Congrats to the HP team for announcing the revolution.