Brocade Launches Commercial Vyatta OpenDaylight SDN Controller

Vyatta controller is built from the open-source OpenDaylight project in a bid to enable an open networking fabric.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Sep 22, 2014
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Brocade is doubling down on its OpenDaylight efforts with the announcement today of the Vyatta controller. The Vyatta controller is based entirely on the open source OpenDaylight project and provides Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities.

Kelly Herrell, VP and GM of the software networking business unit at Brocade, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the Vyatta controller is an SDN controller that goes beyond what is possible with just OpenFlow. The first generation of SDN controllers were typically all about the OpenFlow flow protocol. Herrell said that OpenFlow has a very limited and narrow view of what a controller can do.

"OpenFlow only provides control at the switch level and then only for certain switches," Herrell said. "So an OpenFlow controller doesn't let you configure a firewall or a load balancer or a router, it's all just the switch level."

He added that there is a clear need for an SDN controller to be able to manipulate all the attributes of the network. It's a challenge that the OpenDaylight Project has been architected to solve.

The open source OpenDaylight project first got started in April of 2013 with the support of most of the world's leading networking vendors, including Brocade, Cisco, Juniper and HP. The organization currently has over 39 members and is still growing. Brocade has a particularly strong position within OpenDaylight as well. Brocade engineer David Meyer is the chairman of the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee.

"OpenDaylight is an acknowledgement by vendors that a single vendor SDN controller will not advance the industry," Herrell said.

The Vyatta Controller is not a fork of the OpenDaylight code. In fact, Herrell emphasized that it is 100 percent based on the open source code.

"Since OpenDaylight is open-source and multi-vendor, it enables customers to have a really smooth on-ramp into the OpenDaylight SDN world," Herrell said.

The Vyatta Controller is a virtual machine that runs on a virtualization hypervisor. The entire platform is packaged including the required Java application server. Brocade is using the open source Apache Tomcat application server inside of the Vyatta Controller as part of the complete package.

The first Vyatta Controller GA release is set for November and will be based on the upcoming OpenDaylight Helium release.

OpenDaylight iterates with major milestone releases every six months, and the Vyatta Controller will follow the same path.

"Within our engineering group, we have a continuous build of OpenDaylight, which is in effect a mirror of their repository," Herrell said.

When the OpenDaylight Helium release is out, Brocade will do some additional quality assurance work and provide some packaging to make the platform easier to deploy. For Brocade's customers, instead of having to wait six months until the next major OpenDaylight milestone release, which is codenamed Lithium, fixes can be made in incremental updates.

"Engaging with Brocade commercially will allow us to provide bug fixes or functionality, and then we'll work on driving 100 percent back into the open-source OpenDaylight community," Herrell said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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