Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives are having a significant impact on organizations' campus and branch network environments. In fact, one could argue that BYOD is rapidly becoming BYO3 as employees bring smartphones and tablets to work along with a laptop and all these devices are most likely leveraging corporate or guest WiFi services. It is not uncommon for an enterprise to see wireless connections spike by thousands of devices after a major holiday or new product release. However, this can create significant issues for IT when trying to deal with a surge in connections and contain any security threats. Legacy networks that require separate management of wired and wireless environments only compound the problem.
HP just announced a new solution to help solve those issues and help organizations embrace BYOD through a unified architecture and management solution. HP states that the new solutions will enable organizations to simplify, scale, and secure BYOD environments. HPs announcement comes only a few weeks after Cisco launched their unified solution for BYOD and both of them join Enterasys which launched OneFabric Edge last year. If one announcement is a data point, two is a trend, I guess three makes it a fashionable trend. One could reasonably expect that there will be additional announcements later this year from other vendors looking to solve problems in the BYOD space with unified solutions.
One of the more interesting parts of this HP announcement is the SDN component. Once again they have not only talked about the ability to deliver services, but have demonstrated how a specific security service can be leveraged using their OpenFlow based controller. In this case it is the HP Sentinel Security which provides automated, real-time threat detection for the campus and branch. Previously they had demonstrated this capability for AOL in a data-center-focused application. Providing these use cases is important to the community so other users can understand the solutions that are available.
Getting to the nuts and bolts of this announcement, the HP solution consists of its Intelligent Management Center (IMC) SmartConnect, WiFi Clear Connect, and HP 830 Unified WLAN Switch which are all aimed at simplifying the environment. The HP 2920 (OpenFlow enabled) series switches and HP 10500/7500 unified Wired/WirelessLAN module target scalability functions and the IMC User Access Manager enables secure device onboarding by leveraging a single platform to ID users, apply policies, and ensure secure access. The aforementioned Sentinel Security covers real-time threat detection.
It is always a positive step when the vendor community begins delivering solutions aimed squarely at solving user problems. In this case, those organizations dealing with the influx of employee-owned wireless devices being brought into the enterprise. By delivering innovative technology and simplifying management of complex BYOD environments, HP is helping IT cope with a significant challenge.