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HP Steps Up SDN Strategy

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - HP (HPQ - Get Report) rolled out its Software-Defined Network (SDN) strategy on Tuesday, unveiling new software and applications to tap into the emerging tech trend.

SDN refers to a set of techniques for managing network traffic flows through software and HP is confident that its offerings will resonate with enterprises and public sector customers.

"This is a big announcement for HP, this is a big announcement for the industry," said Bethany Mayer, the general manager of HP's Networking division, during a launch event in midtown Manhattan. HP is the first company to offer SDN technology encompassing network infrastructure, control software and applications, she added.

On the infrastructure side, HP announced that OpenFlow, a networking protocol that lets companies automate how they set up their hardware, is now available on 25 of the company's switches.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm also unveiled its SDN Controller software, which lets users control their broader network infrastructures.

For applications, HP launched its Sentinel Security software which automates access control and provides intrusion prevention security across networks. The company also unveiled its Virtual Cloud Networks software, which lets cloud providers deliver automated cloud services to enterprises.

While OpenFlow support is now available as software upgrade on HP's networking switches, other parts of the company's strategy will be implemented over the coming months. The SDN Controller, for example, will be available worldwide by the second half of 2013, as will the Virtual Cloud Networks application. The Sentinel Security application is already available to select early access customers.

A host of tech heavyweights, including HP's arch-rival Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) and bellwether IBM (IBM - Get Report), are adding flesh to the bones of their SDN strategies. In June, for example, Cisco announced proof-of-concept controller software and also a proof-of-concept OpenFlow agent running on its Catalyst 3750-X and 3560-X Series Switches. IBM is partnering with NEC on OpenFlow-based switch technology.

HP is keen to drive fresh revenue in its networking business, particularly after its one-time partner, Cisco, stepped on the company's toes by moving into the server space. During its recent fiscal third-quarter, HP Networking revenue climbed 10% year-over-year.

The no.1 PC maker, however, is currently in the throes of a major corporate restructuring, recently extending extending job cuts as CEO Meg Whitman attempts to get the company back on track.

Shares of the Dow component, which have tumbled 33.5% this year, closed down 0.46% at $17.13 on Tuesday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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