Brocade's renamed Vyatta: Return of the SDN Controller

Firm hopes to wrap enterprise in the OpenDaylight embrace

Telecommunications operators and service providers will probably be the first takers of Brocade's next iteration of OpenDaylight, but the company reckons the technology is mature enough to start getting a foothold into the enterprise market.

That's the opinion of Ben Hickey, the company's business director of software networking in the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking to The Register's ahead of the launch of the Brocade SDN Controller 2.0 (formerly Vyatta), Hickey said OpenDaylight's strength has been its community support, with now more than 40 companies supporting the project.

That, he said, is what made the framework attractive to Brocade. Version 2.0 of Brocade's product integrates a bigger range of southbound protocols, he said, which means “the controller can truly abstract the network, even if it's a multivendor network.”

There's also enhancements to the Open vSwitch Database interface, and OpenStack support is expanded with a Modular Layer 2 plugin.

Hickey also highlighted integration with Red Hat's OpenStack distribution (which uses the Junos release), which suits customers who want both OpenStack and OpenDaylight to unify the overlay and underlay in a data centre deployment.

To support its expectation that OpenDaylight is closing in on enterprise requirements – in particular, for a less hands-on approach than operators and hyper-scale Web operators take – the company has added some applications to the environment.

There's the free Brocade Topology Manager, a topology view of the network with support for node search; and above that, the Brocade Flow Manager ($40 per attached node, per year) provides near-real-time flow-based network traffic engineering and segmentation.

The new release, Hickey said, will “open up opportunities for enterprises with a private or hybrid cloud. If enterprises are already using Linux KVMs and OpenStack, then OpenDaylight gives them more capabilities in the networking domain.”

The technology “will touch more enterprise use-cases … as devops addresses more enterprise automation.”

As enterprises “move beyond just auto-provisioning, to automation of the whole lifecycle, including monitoring and troubleshooting, the SDN controller will become a key component.”

That's where the Brocade Flow Manager comes in, he said: with the S-flow records collected, he said, sysadmins can apply business rules that automatically change the network according to traffic – for example, if they see a flow that demands a rapid response, such as a denial-of-service attack.

There's also support for OpenDaylight Clustering, to deliver better availability and performance, with a controller that's logically centralised, but physically distributed.

“That lets you have three controllers in a cluster, all sharing the same data store,” Hickey explained. “Should any one node be impacted, the remaining nodes can continue service interrogating the same data store.

“This is a first release, and we'll add more capabilities, adding performance and more scale as well,” he said.

The company's also keen to highlight the pricing. The production license is $100 per attached node, per year.

“For that price, you get access to a fully-supported product, with 24x7 access to our technical assistance centre”, he said. ®

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