Brocade has announced Version 2 of its open source SDN controller, based on the OpenDaylight Lithium release, along with two new management applications. The new software adds additional support for day-to-day network operations to the SDN package.
Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) introduced the Brocade SDN Controller 2.0, which it bills as a commercial distribution of the OpenDaylight controller, along with the Brocade Topology Manager and Brocade Flow Manager for managing SDN networks. (See Unknown Document 718186 and OpenDaylight Ships 'Lithium,' Updated SDN Controller.)
The new version of the SDN controller -- formerly known as the Vyatta Controller -- focuses on improved OpenStack support, improved virtual network functions, and scalability and management, Lisa Caywood, Brocade senior product marketing manager, tells Light Reading. (See Brocade Ships Its Open SDN Controller.)
Brocade is "shoring up" OpenStack support, improving the Neutron interface with Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) certification for the OpenStack Modular Layer 2 plug-in, Caywood says.
For virtual networks, Brocade improves the Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) interface, to manage virtual functions using vSwitches, the SDN controller, and OpenStack, creating a fully virtualized stack operable within the cloud environment. This makes SDN more attractive for service providers interested in NFV, Caywood says. (See Masergy's Bold NFV Play Is Customer Driven.)
The controller improves support for clustering, stability and scaling.
And Brocade adds a new GUI to its management software, creating a consistent user interface across the controller and management apps, to make the software easier to use and manage, Caywood says.
As for apps, the Topology Manager displays a discovered network topology, and the Flow Manager extends the Topology Manager to let users view and interact with the network topology in near real-time for traffic engineering and network segmentation. (See Brocade Boosts SDN Network Performance.)
The controller, Topology Manager, and Flow Manager are available today. Users can download the controller for free with 60 days of technical support, with a production license priced at $100 per attached node per year, including support. The Topology Manager is free. The Flow Manager is priced at $40 per attached node per year, including support.
Brocade is taking a bold -- and risky -- path to SDN. While competitors such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Arista Networks Inc. are mixing proprietary software with open APIs and open source software, along with custom hardware, Brocade is going all in on open source.
Brocade faces declining revenue from its mainstay storage network business, and sees SDN as a way to branch out. And it has nothing to lose -- no existing, proprietary networking business to cannibalize. (See New IP Drives Quarterly Growth at Brocade.)
As a big part of that strategy, Brocade is trying to be the Red Hat of OpenDaylight, hardening open source code for business-critical networks and feeding the code improvements back to the open source project. Brocade hopes to make its money by adding consulting, customization, testing, and other services. (See Brocade Wants to Be Red Hat of OpenDaylight.)
"Everything in our distribution is OpenDaylight code, pure and simple," Caywood says.
"Brocade’s focus on operational issues is a welcome development," says Heavy Reading analyst Roz Roseboro. Service providers are moving beyond just thinking about SDN to thinking about how to deploy it. "Integration and management support takes on heightened importance when dealing with OpenDaylight, since the open source approach itself is relatively new to telcos," Roseboro says. "I expect most telcos will continue to rely heavily on their suppliers as they navigate the transition to SDN in the data center."
SDN is fundamental to the New IP, as it gives service providers the network agility they need to rapidly deploy services on demand to increasingly demanding customers.