TMCnet Feature
January 20, 2015

Brocade Smoothes the Path to Software-Defined Networking (SDN) with Free Vyatta Controller

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

There is a famous line from the movie, Jerry Maguire, when Jerry expresses his love in a long-winded speech to his love interest Dorothy, and Dorothy replies: "You had me at hello."  I will readily confess that the latest news from Brocade (News - Alert) about its Brocade® Vyatta® Controller had me with “Available as a free download.” And, just to be precise this is a free download that entitles you to a free one-year license. 

Why is this significant? 

The answer as Brocade explains it is to highlight the company’s commitment to helping customers accelerate their “journey to open and agile Software-Defined Networking (SDN).” This journey is the path to what Brocade calls the “New IP.” 

This is a classic case of “try it you’ll like it!”  The Brocade Vyatta (News - Alert) Controller test drive will allow enterprises and service providers to evaluate their SDN use cases without investing in expensive and time-consuming hardware acquisitions or software integrations.

Here is what free license translates into if you wish to take the Vyatta Controller for a spin. It includes management of up to five physical or virtual network nodes in a non-production environment and includes 60 days of free 24x7 worldwide access to the Brocade Technical Assistance Center (TAC).

As Brocade sees it, the transition to the New IP will be built on an “open, software-driven strategy in order to maximize the benefits of Big Data, cloud, mobile and social initiatives.” Jumping on the open-source SDN path to the future, Brocade joins the growing chorus of those advocating this approach as the means to accelerate the benefits of SDN adoption including innovation, interoperability and choice while eliminating costly vendor lock-in.

In addition, as others are emphasizing as their differentiated value, Brocade says the emerging new approach to networking approach puts are premium on dealing with vendors with “unique expertise,” which Brocade says includes reliable support.

While free is a great price, Brocade also to the occasion to announce the Brocade Vyatta Controller Developer Edition. This is a comprehensive set of tools – including templates, libraries, and testing environments – to help developers quickly write and test SDN applications and easily deploy them into service.  Since the world is becoming applications-centric with developer attention the ‘holy grail’ for adoption, Brocade is also touting that the Brocade Vyatta Controller is free of proprietary extensions, so developers can be assured that their applications will run on any other OpenDaylight-based controller. Plus, developers retain full intellectual property rights to the applications they build.

With SDN adoption acceleration as the objective, there are new Brocade services to help organizations transition to SDN as seamlessly and painlessly as possible. These services include:

  • Brocade Technical Support provides a single-source support team for ongoing maintenance, deployment guidance and problem resolution for the entire Brocade Vyatta Controller environment. Designated development experts are also available to help resolve issues, whether developers are writing simple automation scripts or creating complex services applications.
  • Brocade Certified Education provides the conceptual foundation and skills that IT organizations need to adopt SDN successfully, including instructor-led courses for network engineers who want to create custom applications that interact with the Brocade Vyatta Controller.
  • Brocade Professional Services provides consulting expertise to assist with SDN implementation and development efforts. Subject matter experts can work directly with users and developers to create the right environment ensuring applications perform as expected.

In addition, as has become an important contribution by most vendors as they strive to increase interest in SDN, Brocade has an online community. Through the community, customers can download the Brocade Vyatta Controller; access community forums, documentation and the Brocade Technical Assistance Center; share use cases, tutorials and code samples as well as learn about the latest developments in networking-related open-source projects. Brocade has in fact committed to contributing any enhancements made to the Brocade Vyatta Controller back to the community to ensure interoperability with other OpenDaylight-based controllers on an ongoing basis.

"Today's announcement further distinguishes Brocade in our deep commitment to helping customers accelerate their transition to the New IP by delivering a truly open SDN solution based on the Brocade Vyatta Controller," said Kelly Herrell, senior vice president and general manager, Software Networking, Brocade. "Our free license model, new services that cater to both users and developers, as well as ongoing allegiance to OpenDaylight, not only remove significant barriers to implementing SDN solutions but also accelerate the time from proof-of-concept to production."

Additional unique features of the Brocade Vyatta Controller include:

  • Platform-independent, host OS- and hypervisor-agnostic design to allow management of physical and virtual networking platforms from multiple vendors
  • Easy-to-use GUI, installation tools and full support to reduce time-to-competence, time-to-deployment and ongoing administrative overhead

"We know organizations want programmable networks and Brocade is clearing a path for those who want SDN today," said Neela Jacques, executive director, OpenDaylight. "From a health care provider who needs to customize network operations to a campus organization that wants faster provisioning, there are countless use cases for SDN and many we haven't even thought of yet. With OpenDaylight at the core, Brocade can evolve its solution quickly to adapt to customer needs."

Finally, it should be noted that a production license for the Brocade Vyatta Controller is priced at $100 per attached node per year including support.

2015 promises to be a big year for open source SDN, and incentives to get everyone into the pool as early as possible are already indicative as to why this is a prediction that has a high probability of success.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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