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HP Bets On SDN Apps With SDK, App Store

HP is releasing a software development kit (SDK) to spur the development of SDN applications for its controller. The company will also launch support services for developers. HP also announced plans for an SDN app store, where customers can purchase apps written by HP and third-party developers. HP says the app store will launch in the second half of 2014.

The HP SDN Developer Kit will give developers the tools to write, test and certify applications that can then be sold on the HP SDN App Store. Developers will get API documentation for the HP SDN controller, as well as a developer guide and sample code. Developers can test their applications using an SDN simulation suite and a virtual lab.

HP says the development kit is free, but developers will have to license the SDN controller. The starting price for HP’s base controller is $495. The company says developers that sign up for HP’s Alliance Program can get a 50% discount on the controller.

The company also plans to offer support services for developers, including 24-hour phone support. HP says it hasn’t decided whether it will charge for these services. The HP SDN controller will officially be available at the end of October, and the SDK will be available in November.

[What impact will SDN architectures have on your network? Get insights in “SDN, Overlays and Interior Decorating.”]

Third-party applications can be validated for sale on HP’s SDN app store, which the company plans to open in the second half of 2014. HP will offer full support for HP applications purchased from the apps store. It is working out support details for third-party applications. The company says it will have a live demo of the app store at Interop New York.

The company is still working out the details on its revenue-sharing plan for third-party applications sold through the app store. “The majority of the revenue will go to the developer,” says Kash Shaikh, senior director of product and technical marketing at HP Networking. “Large organizations can develop apps, or a few guys in a garage can download the SDK and innovate and be able to sell the applications.”

While HP is calling this initiative an Open Ecosystem, it doesn’t include an open-source component. When asked if HP had plans to offer an open-source version of its controller, as Juniper recently announced, Shaikh says he wouldn’t eliminate it as an option but that the current focus is on the enterprise market.

“Open source is a good option, but it doesn’t provide support, which is critical for the enterprise,” he says. “Open source is good for labs, but not necessarily for enterprise customers.”

Shaikh says 22 organizations have already registered for the developer kit, including Blue Coat Systems, Citrix, F5, Microsoft and VMware.

In addition to the SDK and app store news, HP is also announcing new OpenFlow 1.3 support on 10 routers in its HP FlexNextwork line and HP Virtual Services Router (VSR) series. The company says it supports OpenFlow on 50 switches.