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HPE kills off its entire OpenSDN line, pulls plug on customer demos

ISPs told they'll have to find another vendor

By Shaun Nichols, 26 Apr 2017

Exclusive Hewlett Packard Enterprise has quietly axed its OpenSDN suite, effective immediately.

Its sales staff have been instructed to shut down customer demos and proof-of-concept installations. IT buyers will be told to try other gear if they want to evaluate and roll out software-defined networking.

HPE workers have also been instructed to pretty much keep the move a secret, with no public announcements, and to simply tell customers and partners the tech giant has "discontinued development of HPE OpenSDN" if they ask what's happening.

This is according to an internal memo seen today by The Register, which declares HPE will no longer support the networking platform it has for years pitched as a solution for ISPs and IT service providers.

The email was written by product veep Sarwar Raza and telco sales boss Jacques Rames, who said the decision to pull the plug was "made in light of business and financial considerations."

The pair also confirmed HPE is getting out of the telco-scale SDN market entirely, admitting that it "will no longer offer a native telco/service provider SDN solution." The enterprise giant notes, however, that the move should not be considered a step away from open platforms.

The products set to be axed, we understand, include the OpenSDN controller, VPN, and SFC lines. HPE is telling sales staff it will no longer be taking orders for the products or fulfilling orders.

"Alternative options to HPE OpenSDN include the HPE Distributed Cloud Networking (DCN) products from DCIG networking," the missive reads. "Please note that these products are not perfect substitutes for each other, so you may have to requalify open opportunities based on DCN features."

The Register asked HPE for comment. The IT goliath would not deny the memo had been sent, and a spokesperson said someone would get back to us with a statement. That was about an hour and half ago, and our inbox is still empty.

So while we wait, here is the internal notice, including an FAQ for staff, in full:

Sarwar Raza VP Product Management, Communications Solutions Business Jacques Rames WW Global Industries Communications, Media and Entertainment SDN/NFV Sales

HPE is advising our sales teams of the End of Sale of the HPE OpenSDN family of solutions, effective immediately. This includes HPE OpenSDN 1.0 Data Center Networking Controller, HPE OpenSDN SD-VPN solution and the HPE OpenSDN SFC solution. Product and service SKUs from these product families are no longer available for order or fulfillment. There are no follow-on releases planned for HPE OpenSDN solutions.

Why this notification?

HPE will no longer offer a native telco/service provider SDN solution. We will rely on partners for this capability instead. This decision is made in light of business and financial considerations.

Will there be an external announcement?

HPE is not planning any external announcement regarding this change. Communication with affected customers will be coordinated via Account Teams.

What do we tell industry media and analysts?

Direct questions to Julia Ochinero.

What do we tell customers?

Do not offer any proactive statements to customers. If asked, please share that HPE has discontinued development of HPE OpenSDN and now offers partner solutions in its place. All customer communication must be coordinated via Account Teams.

What do we tell partners?

The Worldwide Partner Team is notifying affected partners. All current partner integration activities with HPE OpenSDN will be stopped. If asked, please share that HPE has discontinued development of HPE OpenSDN.

What alternatives are available?

Alternative options to HPE OpenSDN include the HPE Distributed Cloud Networking (DCN) products from DCIG Networking. Please note that these products are not perfect substitutes for each other, so you may have to requalify open opportunities based on DCN features.

My customer is currently running a demo or POC. What are the next steps in light of this advisory?

All OpenSDN specific POC/Demos will need to be wound down in coordination with the Account Team. We are in the final stages of finalizing and submitting binding bids that include OpenSDN solutions.

What are our options?

All current POCs are being reviewed to understand if they are strategic and if we have the opportunity to transfer to a partner to continue the engagement. All OpenSDN specific POC/Demos will need to be wound down in coordination with the Account Team.

My customer requires an open source based or lightweight SDN solution. What are my options?

Please refer any such opportunities to Product Management for review in order to determine if any part of our OpenSDN expertise is leverage-able as a potential services offering. Note however that there is no continued product offering in this space.

Does this signal a move away from Open Source solutions?

HPE continues to lead the OPNFV open source NFV community and has made significant contributions to major open source projects over the last several years. Our decision is not based on merits or otherwise of open source vs proprietary solutions. HPE continues to support open, standards based solutions as well as best of breed partner solutions depending on specific customer needs.

We may need someone from Worldwide Product/Sales/Management to meet with key customers to explain this decision. Who can assist?

Please contact Jacques (WW CME NFV/SDN) or Sarwar (WW Product Management) for any executive escalations or meeting requests.

Our customer may require a written explanation of our decision. Where can I obtain this?

Do not forward or re-purpose any part of internal communications for customers. Contact Sarwar if you need a customer-specific statement.

If you have more information to share, please get in touch with us in confidence via email – or anonymously and securely via Ricochet. Our US office can be contacted using ricochet:m3bnxucau5ishl2h. ®

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