At the beginning of 2009, HP announced its ProCurve ONE program to put networking applications onto blade switches.
Eleven months later, the program is expanding with new partners, though some of the original partners have yet to officially release their own certified applications. The HP ProCurve ONE update comes at an interesting time in the networking applications space, with rival Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) recently rolling out a new Services Ready Engine providing applications on router technology.
At its core, HP ProCurve ONE is a Linux operating system sitting on a blade module that plugs into an HP ProCurve switch. Though Linux is the underlying operating system currently, HP (NYSE:HPQ) execs don’t see that fact as something that matters all that much.
“We’re currently only shipping ProCurve ONE with a Linux-based operating system,” Mark Hilton, HP ProCurve director of LAN edge solutions told InternetNews.com. “We have plans to develop end user choice to put their own applications on it and we’re looking at other operating systems, though nothing is currently shipping.”
Hilton noted that with the evolution of ProCurve ONE, there is a tighter integration of applications with the switch in a transparent way. He explained that it allows an application to sit inside of a switch without advertising its presence, so the users don’t need to route to it.
With the expansion of the ProCurve ONE program today, HP is adding several new partners, including security vendors Fortinet, Sourcefire and StillSecure. Cohen noted that there is some overlap in the integrated solutions available from partners, but HP’s goal is to offer choice.
Moving forward, Hilton said that HP has learned a lot from its efforts to ramp up ProCurve ONE this year.
“We’re taking that input and it’s driving our roadmap for new platforms,” Hilton said. “So the next generation platforms will be even more flexible and more capable of handling things that a myriad of our partners are requiring.”
Don’t call it a Linux server
HP is partnering with a Linux vendor for the operating system used on ProCurve ONE, though Hilton declined to specifically disclose the name of the vendor.
The fact that Linux is being used on ProCurve ONE doesn’t mean it’s just another Linux server on a network.
“Don’t think of ProCurve ONE as a server that is open where users can put any application they want on it,” Hilton said. “It is a server, but its primary function is to be able to port pre-certified application onto it. So the operating system is of less importance. The fact that we’re using Linux is something that helps our partners but it’s not necessary a benefit to the end-user, they just see an application running.”
Perhaps not all partners, however, benefit from the Linux operating system. The original ProCurve ONE launch partner group included Linux rival Microsoft. To date, Microsoft has not shipped its ProCurve ONE solution. For that matter, neither has WAN acceleration vendor Riverbed or unified communication vendor Avaya.
“As you probably would expect, the work to come to market with those vendors just requires a lot more work,” Frank Cohen, HP ProCurve director of worldwide strategic alliances told InternetNews.com. “So our sleeves are rolled up we’re working with those vendors looking forward to having exciting news with them later this year.”
Cohen added that ProCurve ONE is shipping with solutions from other vendors, though he was unable to provide specific unit counts. Among the partner solutions currently shipping are Vbrick for video distribution, Vantronix firewall and VPN