Brocade has been espousing the benefits of open-source development, and its controller shows the speed that open source code lends to product development. The Brocade OpenDaylight Controller, being announced today, has been in the works for just five months, says Tom Nadeau, a Brocade distinguished engineer.
The controller will be based on the OpenDaylight Project’s Helium code release, which comes out this fall. General availability for the controller is slated for November.
In a way, Brocade wants to play the role of spoiler. The company’s low market share in switching gives it no reason to hold back when it comes to transforming the network into something more virtualized and SDN-like. And that lets Brocade be more earnest about creating an “open” SDN framework, as executives have been saying since last year.
“If you look at the other major software vendors, they’re beholden to their hardware sales,” Nadeau says. “The majority of our hardware sales are in the SAN market. This is not linked to any of that stuff. This allows us to sell virtualized appliances without damaging the bottom line.”
The controller is part of a grand vision that the company is calling the “new IP,” incorporating OpenStack orchestration, OpenDaylight-based control, and virtual (and physical) network gear. Nadeau, who joined in February from Juniper Networks, plays a major role in all this as head of the OpenStack and OpenDaylight teams at Brocade.
“Being knee-deep in open-source is now part of Brocade’s DNA. Me and my team are making sure that happens, but right at the top, Lloyd [Carney, CEO] and Ken [Cheng, executive vice president of engineering] are putting their money where their mouth is,” Nadeau says. That includes a recruitment drive during the past year or so that’s brought several SDN community leaders into Brocade’s ranks.
The Brocade Vyatta controller is open source, but Brocade plans to offer a commercial version that includes additional testing for supporting partners’ software and multivendor networking. Brocade will also offer support services, getting more directly involved with customers’ engineering organizations.
Brocade is also announcing the first two applications for the controller. The Path Explorer, which calculates optimal paths through the network, is due to be available with the first release of the Brocade Vyatta Controller. Volumetric Traffic Management, an app for recognizing elephant flows and volume-based attacks, is slated for early 2015. Both are being sold separately from the controller.
At press time, the company was also hinting that support for certain other companies’ hardware could be announced, too, but officials hadn’t decided whether to release those names. Outside hardware support is being done to support specific customer deployments — including one for a major North American service provider. (That name is definitely not being release today, a Brocade spokesman said.)