Brocade wants to make it easier and less expensive for businesses to adopt its software-defined networking controller by offering the technology for free for a year.
The company, which is building its software-defined networking (SDN) efforts from the technology it inherited when it bought Vyatta in 2012, announced the Vyatta SDN controller in September 2014. Brocade officials on Jan. 20 said the company is shipping the controller and making it available as a free download for a year to accelerate customer adoption of the technology.
In addition, Brocade also is unveiling the Brocade Vyatta Controller Developer Edition, which offers developers the tools needed to create, test and deploy SDN applications.
The controller is based on the "Helium" release from the OpenDaylight Project, an industry-based consortium that is developing an open-source platform to help drive the adoption of SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV). OpenDaylight released Helium in September 2014.
Kelly Herrell, senior vice president and general manager of Brocade's software networking business, said for SDN to be widely adopted, the controller technology needs to be open. For many years the networking business was one where vendors offered proprietary hardware that housed everything from the control plane to the various networking tasks. The push toward cloud computing, big data, mobility and social networking, among other trends, is driving the need for more agile, flexible and affordable networks.
SDN and NFV are keys to creating such networking infrastructures by removing the control plane and network jobs—like load balancing and firewalls—and putting them into software that can run on lower-cost commodity hardware. The Vyatta controller dovetails with the demand for open technology and is platform-independent. It also can interoperate with multiple hypervisors from the likes of Microsoft, VMware and Citrix Systems.
Brocade also wants to make this open SDN controller widely available, Herrell told eWEEK.
"This is not something that's hard to get your hands on," he said, adding that businesses will not be forced to rip and replace anything in their data centers in order to run the controller. It will give companies "an easy on-ramp into SDN."
Herrell noted that OpenDaylight has a broad array of members, including such major networking companies like Cisco Systems, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks, Extreme Networks and Huawei. It also includes other top tech companies, including Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, Fujitsu and Avaya. However, it has been Brocade that has fully embraced OpenDaylight, he said.
"Brocade was the first to bring it forward [within the controller] in the way it was intended," Herrell said.
The free download will enable companies to support up to five virtual or physical networking nodes, and also comes with 60 days of 24-by-7 tech support. Businesses that want to deploy the Vyatta controller in a commercial environment can license the products for $100 per attached node per year. Support is included.
The Vyatta Controller Developer Edition includes templates, libraries and testing environments for developers to leverage to develop networking applications. The controller has no proprietary extension, so whatever applications are developed will run on any other OpenDaylight-based controllers, according to Brocade officials. Developers also keep the IP rights to the applications they create, Herrell said.
Established networking vendors like Cisco, Juniper and HP are rapidly building out their SDN and NFV portfolios, while smaller startups also are looking to gain traction in a rapidly changing networking environment. A networking space that at one time had a fairly set hierarchy is now "wide open," Herrell said. "It's not a single-vendor [market] anymore."