As some of you may remember, during Interop 2011 in Las Vegas there was a pretty cool interoperability lab created around OpenFlow and Software Defined Networking.  This lab saw approximately 20 vendors demonstrate various levels of support for OpenFlow, and Citrix was there with XenServer.

If you were there, you may recall that the XenServer OpenFlow demo involved switches from multiple vendors, as well as a third party controller.  Shipping with an updated virtual switch since December 2010, XenServer was the first commercial hypervisor platform to support OpenFlow and the flexible network concepts embodied by it, and just last week Citrix released XenServer 6 with the OpenFlow enabled distributed virtual switch as the default network stack.  This virtual network switch allows network administrators to define, implement, control and monitor what’s running in the virtualization layer common in today’s datacenters; all without needing to understand or worry about virtualization concepts impacting their designs.

Now the obvious question is what this has to do with turnkey branch office virtualization.  At Interop in New York, the bar just moved again.

HP Networking has released the HP Advanced Services zl Module with Citrix XenServer Platform creating a truly turnkey solution for branch, campus and remote office sites.  Plugging into any 5400zl or 8200zl series HP switch, the Advanced Services module comes pre-installed with Citrix XenServer ready to run.  What this means is that if you’re charged with managing a branch office, you can now take full advantage of virtualization without needing to worry about details like server or storage configuration.

Virtualization can now be used to address redundancy concerns while increasing service levels at the branch through the use of virtualized services such as domain controllers or virtual appliances providing WAN optimization, security and network optimization.

I started this blog with OpenFlow, and it’s only fitting that I end with it.  One of the challenges to any new technology paradigm is interoperability.  OpenFlow has the power to revolutionize network management and security, but it needs a vibrant ecosystem in which to thrive.  In Las Vegas we saw some of that ecosystem, but with the HP Advanced Services module running XenServer and the HP 5400zl or 8200zl series of switches you now can readily create an OpenFlow compatible network encompassing both physical and virtual resources in your branch office wiring closet today.