HP, F5 Networking Solutions Offer Faster App Deployment

The offerings, announced at Interop, automate the processes for deploying cloud applications on wired and wireless networks.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to make the network faster, more flexible.

At the Interop 2012 show in Las Vegas, HP officials unveiled solutions designed to significantly speed up the time it takes to deploy cloud applications across both wired and wireless networks, a move that is particularly important in an era when employees are using their personal mobile devices for work.

According to HP, the solutions automate the process of deploying applications, removing many of the manual steps that in the past caused the process of application deployment to take months. Now, by automating those steps, HP has enabled businesses to change the deployment time to minutes.

The solutions also give businesses a single point through which to manage the process.

The offerings, announced May 8, are part of an expanded relationship between HP and F5 Networks. The solutions integrate HP€™s Virtual Application Network technology, which the company introduced in April, and F5€™s Application Delivery Network (ADN). The HP technology virtualizes networks and automates configuration; F5€™s ADN does the same thing for application configuration.

The result is an application deployment process that is more in line with the demands in the cloud computing era, where speed is crucial, according to Michael Nielsen, director of solutions marketing for HP Networking. Traditional networks are static environments where it can take months to deploy applications through multiple manual steps and device-by-device configuration. In addition, the applications themselves can take weeks of configuration.

€œIn the era today of €¦ cloud-based apps, if you€™re deploying networks manually and deploying apps manually, you€™re not going anywhere,€ Nielsen told eWEEK.

HP€™s Virtual Applications Networks offering leverages technologies from the burgeoning software-defined networking (SDN) trend, including the OpenFlow protocol, to create templates for application delivery requirements and enable automated and policy-driven application configuration approaches.

The solutions offered by HP and F5 are more in line with what businesses and employees are demanding now. Nielsen said a key goal of the Virtual Application Networks solution was to get rid of the command line interface (CLI) method of manually configuring network devices and applications, a process that not only was time-consuming but also€”given the manual steps involved€”more likely to cause errors.

The combination of HP€™s Virtual Application Networks and F5€™s ADN solutions creates a more dynamic and automated environment that can scale both physical and virtual resources on demand. Being able to quickly deploy these applications across wireless networks is particularly important, given the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, in which more employees are using their personal mobile devices€”in particular, smartphones and tablets€”to access corporate networks and data.

Given the BYOD trend, HP and F5 also are offering a solution designed to make it easier to bring devices onto the corporate network efficiently and safely. HP estimates that up to 60 percent of enterprises are unsure about what devices are running on their networks. Leveraging the F5 ADN technology, the BYOD solution combines user and device authentication and application access control, bringing together the processes of on-boarding, provisioning and monitoring of the devices on the network and managing the processing from a single platform.

HP also is offering new networking services designed to help speed and optimize data center applications, including Network Infrastructure Optimization Services that let businesses monitor their networks and avoid bottlenecks.

In addition, the company is adding to its 10500 line of campus switches. The 10512 offers significantly lower latency and greater 10 Gigabit Ethernet density than similar offerings from Cisco Systems, according to HP.