Mohammed Alshoaiby and Sultain Aleidan
RIYADH – HP announced the launch of its Application Ready Network (ARN), one of the company’s latest efforts in advanced networking solutions and cloud computing, on Sunday.
The ARN is the latest in a series of self-defined networks that exist in the cloud, reportedly allowing users to access information over fast and secure networks.
Managing Director of HP Saudi Arabia Ziyad Murtaja said: “Quick connectivity between the users and applications in a secure, agile fashion is what ARN is delivering.
“There’s so much dependence on IT that you just can’t imagine the world without this industry.”
The ARN is an autonomous network that enables automatic data entry at high levels of security at advanced speeds, built on a software-defined platform.
Manual input of data for networks through encryption has been rendered faulty and a waste of time and resources, according to a press release, which prompted the company’s renewed interest in cloud computing.
During an event Sunday, HP showcased the benefits of ARN as the first app-ready technology in the sector that would reportedly allow companies and cloud computing providers to simplify use and increase network speed.
Murtaja said HP’s commitment to its technical capabilities affects change that is aligned with the Kingdom’s vision for a diversified economy.
“Every 10 or 15 years you see a very significant shift in how IT is architected (and) how it’s delivered, and with that Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned,” said HP’s global Chief Operating Officer Bill Veghte in an exclusive interview with the Saudi Gazette. He visited Riyadh to oversee HP Saudi Arabia’s implementation of its software-defined networks, and at the same time, study available opportunities in the Kingdom.
“There is a vision and aspiration that leans forward into the future on an extended timeframe.”
Veghte emphasized the importance of building a new IT infrastructure in the Kingdom with the opportunities made possible through a new style of IT, which focuses on secure, cross-device enterprise networking.
The new style of IT is reportedly aimed at taking existing and new networks and developing software-ready environments for those networks, allowing both easier and faster accessibility and increased security.
Those opportunities have reportedly lead to HP launching Moonshot, which is advertised as the world’s first software-defined server, also citing cost-effectiveness and high environmental consciousness as standards of operation.
“Moonshot is 97 percent less complex, because it has over 85 percent less power consumption (and) because it fundamentally changes the cost profile by at least 75 percent,” said Veghte.
“The cacophony of humanity is increasingly captured in a digital form,” he added, emphasizing the importance of security, retrievability and accessibility of that data.
“We operate in a different world today than we operated in 10 years ago,” he added.
“IT is at the core fabric of how business runs, how natural infrastructure runs and everything is connected with an IP (Internet Protocol) address.
“Yet we operate in a world where there is nationalist and terrorist intent that can disrupt the level of sophistication and quality-thinking.”
Veghte said that this challenge to businesses and governments is met through “consumer quality experience without compromising the enterprise,” effectively alleviating the threat of cyber terrorism and security breaches.
Feras Biltou, HP Networking Business Unit Manager, said enterprise applications should function in new technologies, such as ARN.
“New technologies are coming in specs to carry on the existing network infrastructure that you have to the level of future requirements,” he added.
“In the era of cloud computing, consumers need a single point of control to the whole network, which enables them to send any application or service directly to the user in a matter of minutes.”
Biltou further said security is something that HP keeps in mind: “We have the right security measures at every layer of the network,” whether at the hardware level or the software level.
“There is nothing called 100 percent security, but we strive toward that. The new level of networks is talking about a holistic approach to the network,” he said, which he described as being more secure and less cumbersome.
“The application (itself) will be able to provide that control on the component of the infrastructure to make it more secure,” he noted.
This gives better manageability and security to the network for enterprises, he added, citing the various applications that the network has in banks and government agencies, among other establishments.
Biltou also stated that HP’s networks have never been attacked or breached.
Biltou expressed HP’s interest on applying these networks across various sectors in small and medium sized businesses as well as large enterprises and government agencies.
“Medium to small businesses are important to us, because these businesses may have extraordinary reaches thanks to the Internet, which affects the industry in a large way.
Biltou added that the businesses themselves are able to alter the application to their requirements without compromise in the network’s security.
Retrieving data over networks happens in a series of packets, called data-packets, that are transferred in bits over the information highway and later reconstructed at the source.
This process sometimes suffers from issues in latency and loss of information.
Biltou said that HP’s servers minimize latency and information loss by providing a software-defined network that acts as a middleman between servers, directing information and reducing traffic.
“It (the software-defined network) gets that server to communicate with the other server in a direct fashion.
“We enhanced recovery by 500 times,” he added, based on a third-party evaluation that also found that these software-defined networks are 20 times faster.
HP is a $120 billion company, making it the largest enterprise IT company in the world, and has been active in the Kingdom over the last 40 years and operates globally in 166 countries.
HP also started a graduate program four years ago that employs Saudi IT professionals, emphasizing both Saudization and gender diversity.
Murtaja said: “We have a genuine interest in building the long-term viability of the company’s business with Saudi hands.”
On gender diversity, Murtaja said 12 percent of their workforce is comprised of women, with 99 percent of that group being Saudis working in core technical fields in the company.