NEW YORK CITY -- Brocade Investor Day -- Brocade says that it has proof-of-concept virtual networking trials going on with 50 service provider customers now that it expects will start to go live late next year and deliver revenue for the company in 2016.
Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)'s CEO, Lloyd Carney, proclaimed his company's SDN and NFV "leadership" at the Brocade investor day at the NASDAQ on Wednesday morning.
"We have 50 trials going on globally," said Carney of Brocade's virtualization work.
He expects some of these test deployments will go live late in 2015. "As we exit financial year 2015, proof-of-concepts will become actual deployments," he said. Brocade's financial year ends on November 1.
The CEO is expecting that this will mean that live SDN/NFV deployments will result in "measurable revenue" for Brocade in financial year 2016.
The new puppet masters Brocade unveiled its OpenDaylight-based Vyatta Controller this week. Brocade's GM and VP of software networking, Kelly Herrell, says that an SDN controller is like the "marionette handle" used in puppetry. Each string connecting a puppet to the handle is like a network node. You can use the controller to bend and shape your network to your will as business needs change, Herrell suggests. (See Brocade Debuts OpenDaylight SDN Controller.)
The difference between the Vyatta controller and others on the market is that the Brocade software is more open, supports multi-vendor environments, and offers control over more network elements, Herrell claimed. "Brocade is to OpenDaylight what Red Hat is to Linux," Herrell told the crowd of suits at the investor day.
Brocade can do this, he suggested, because enabling operators to take networks virtual with software and common Intel x86-based server hardware won't cannibalize an existing custom hardware market for Brocade. He didn't name which particular vendors have the most to lose with the virtualization trend but it is clear that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) could be threatened as the market moves away from dedicated custom networking boxes. (See Introducing 'The New IP' .)
"We're not holding back, we're not afraid, this is our opportunity," says Herrell. "Brocade is the pure play software attacker in the new IP."
"Next three to five years our software business will be as important to us as VMware is to EMC," added CEO Carney in the Q&A session.
Silicon shoulders Carney also highlighted how important the company's relationship with chipmaker Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is in its attempts to optimize its technology to get the best performance on x86 server platforms. "We're standing on the shoulders of Intel," Carney acknowledged.
There's a symbiotic element, however, to the relationship too. Carney said that Intel is positioned to break big into what he calls the "third platform" of networking. "They are spending more on ASICs than anyone else," he noted.
Brocade is also not planning to sit still with its Vyatta controller but will deliver apps to sit on top of the controller in 2015. These will include security software intended to help customers defend against distributed denial of service threats and other attacks in "real time," said Jason Nolet, VP of switching, routing and analytics. The company is also planning a data traffic calming app aimed at managing "elephant flows" on the network.
Elephant flows are long-lived, massive data streams, typically something like a video feed. "The problem with elephant flows is that they can step on legitimate mice flows," Nolet said. So, the forthcoming app will do things like tweak quality-of-service (QoS) levels of data streams, so that elephant and mouse can play nice on the same network.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading