HP, Pica8 Partner on Open Networking, SDN in a Challenge to Cisco

By Paula Bernier September 28, 2015

Networking is going through a significant transition to open and more software-centric technologies and companies are looking for partners that can deliver such technology while providing them with the piece of mind that these solutions will work initially and well into the future. HP and Pica8 today announced a partnership they say will do all of the above – and set the companies up to more effectively challenge Cisco’s hold on the networking space.

The HP-Pica8 relationship touches on a few areas. That includes certification of the PicOS network operating system for the HP Altoline Open Networking switches. But perhaps more importantly, it involves HP both reselling the Pica8 operating system and providing round-the-clock support for it.

“When we go into a customer, the customer wants to know ‘Who has my back?’” Sean Maddox, senior business developer of HP Network Support Services, told me during an interview this morning. HP, he noted, has thousands of certified trained experts across the globe that know about Linux operating systems, servers, and the new open-based model of networking, and have strong legacy networking knowledge as well.

For Pica8, a little six-year-old company, the relationship with HP should be extremely helpful. HP, of course, is a trusted brand and, as noted above, can provide the Pica8 solution with significant distribution and support. It also has the HP SDN App Store, which the company launched last year; that offers an ecosystem and specific examples of how the OS can be used to enable the delivery of real-world solutions with demonstrable financial business benefits. That, Steve Garrison, Pica8’s vice president of marketing, said will enable it to be a real challenger to Cisco.  

The relationship with Pica8 gives HP access to the PicOS network operating system, which the companies say is the first Open Networking operating system to support OpenFlow 1.4. That enables advanced integration with HP’s Virtual Application Networks SDN Controller. (The SDN Controller, which Maddox said is functionally the same of the OpenDaylight Controller, is software that runs on virtual or bare metal servers. If applications are running on a controller, he added, then the Pica8 NOS can connect the controller and the switches.)

HP and Pica8 initially came together to meet the requirements of a joint customer, which is a large North American service provider they declined to name. The two companies elected to build on their relationship to provide both enterprise and carrier customers with more complete and workable software-defined networking solutions. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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