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HP has quietly been making waves recently with their networking strategies. They recently showed off their technology around software defined networking (SDN) applications at Interop New York. Here’s a video:
It would seem that HP has been doing a lot of hard work on the back end with SDN. So why haven’t we heard about it?
Trumpet and Bugle
HP Networking hasn’t been in the news as much as Cisco and VMware as of late. When you consider that both of those companies are pushing agendas related to redefining the paradigm of networking around policy and virtualization their trumpeting of those agendas makes total sense. But even members of the League of Non-Aligned Vendors like Brocade are talking a lot about their SDN strategy with the Vyatta Controller and OpenStack integrations. Vendors have layers and layers of plans for the “new” networking. But HP has actually been doing it! Why haven’t we known until now?
HP has been content to play the role of the bugler to the trumpeters of the bigger organizations. Rather than talking over and over again about what they are planning on doing, HP waits until they’ve actually done it to talk about it. It’s a sound strategy. I love making everything work first and then discussing what you’ve done rather than spending week after week, month after month, talking about a plan that may or may not come to fruition.
The issue with HP is that they need to bugle a little more often to stay afloat in the space. Only making announcements won’t cut it. The breakneck pace of innovation and adoption is disrupting the ability of laggard developers to stay afloat. New technologies are being supplanted by upstarts. Docker is old news. Now we’re talking about SocketPlane and Rocket. You’d be forgiven if you haven’t been keeping up as a blogger or engineer. But if you’ve missed the boat as a vendor, you’re going to have a hard time treading water.
The Tijuana Brass
How can HP solve their problem? Technically, they need to keep doing what they’ve been doing all along. They are making good decisions and innovating around ideas like the HP SDN App Store. What they need to do it tell more people about it. Get the word out. Start some discussions around what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to engage. The more you talk to people about your solutions, the more your name will come up in conversation. You need to be loud and on-key. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass weren’t popular right away. It took years of recording and playing before the mainstream “discovered” them and popularized their music.
HP Networking has spent considerable time building SDN infrastructure. The fact that their are OpenFlow images for a wide variety of their existing switch infrastructure is proof they are concerned about making everything fit together. Now it’s time to tell the story. With the impending divestiture of HP’s enterprise businesses from the consumer line, it will be far too easy to get lost in the shuffle of reorganization. They way to prevent that is to step out and make yourself known. Write blogs, record podcasts, and interact with the community. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little.
HP invited me to attend HP Discover Barcelona as their guest. They provided travel and lodging expenses during my time in Europe. They did not require any blog posts or consideration for this invitation, nor where they offered any on my part. The opinions and analysis expressed herein represents my thoughts alone.