Brocade owns some software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) assets that haven’t been claimed by either Arris or Extreme. And Brocade is shopping these assets around to prospective buyers. The technologies include a virtual router, an SDN controller, and a virtual load balancer.
There are some rumors circulating that a service provider may be contemplating purchasing these assets. If a service provider, such as AT&T or Verizon, purchased Brocade’s virtual router technology, that could take a bite out of the router business for vendors such as Juniper Networks and Cisco.
“When you go beyond the layer 2, 3 switch/router platforms that Brocade has had, there’s a category of SDN- and NFV-oriented software platforms that is part of the company that didn’t go to Arris or Extreme,” said Paul Parker-Johnson, principal analyst with ACG.
IDC analyst Rohit Mehra said, “What’s left is mostly the software business unit, which was set up in the last couple of years when they bought Vyatta, and then also the virtual ADC business from Riverbed, and they also have their [OpenDaylight]-based SDN controller.”
The company rebranded all of these assets in mid-2015, and the list can be found on SDxCentral. Brocade’s vRouter technology came from its acquisition of Vyatta.
Brocade confirmed that it’s working to sell its remaining software assets.
“Our goal is to divest all the software businesses, and we are in negotiations with buyers for each business,” said Ed Graczyk, Brocade’s director of global corporate communications, in an email to SDxCentral. “We’re in active discussions with buyers for each of our software networking solutions. However, as you might expect, we don’t comment on market rumors.”
It’s highly likely that a service provider such as AT&T or Verizon could pick up some of these assets. Verizon revealed just this week that it is close to launching an open source white box that runs services from multiple vendors.
Shawn Hakl, Verizon’s vice president of new products and innovation, said, “We’ve firmly seen customers are looking for standard off-the-shelf hardware, and they are willing to wait for this. The people who have that are going to clean up.”
Perhaps AT&T is looking to “clean up” in the white box business as well.
Asked about the implications of a provider such as AT&T buying Brocade’s vRouter, Mehra said, “The entire edge router market is certainly poised to move from appliance-based to virtual router solutions. Obviously, Cisco and Juniper are going to transform their own portfolios, having their own virtual router platforms.”
If a service provider bought the vRouter technology it could use it within its own network, and it also could resell it to its enterprise customers. That would slam router vendors such as Cisco and Juniper on two fronts: they would lose the service provider’s business, and they would be competing against the service provider for enterprise business.
But as far as a service provider reselling to businesses, Mehra was skeptical. “They would be sort of starting from scratch,” he said, adding “that is more of a stretch compared to getting the Vyatta platform and using it for their own purposes.”
But Brocade still owns the above-named handful of software products. It’s anybody’s guess what might become of the vRouter, SDN controller, or load balancing ADC software.