Brocade Opens Up OpenStack with DNRM

The open source OpenStack platform is set to get a major boost thanks to a new technical effort led by Brocade.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Oct 31, 2013
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The open source OpenStack cloud platform is growing in popularity, and networking vendor Brocade wants to help it grow even more. Brocade is leading a new open source effort, the Dynamic Network Resource Management (DNRM) blueprint, to provide more networking choices to OpenStack.

Today the OpenStack Networking technology, called Neutron, is a framework that enables networking vendors to plug in via an API. The challenge is that Neutron currently makes OpenStack implementers decide on a single networking vendor choice when deploying a cloud. DNRM aims to open up that choice to enable the support of multiple networking vendors in a cloud deployment.

"As good as OpenStack is with compute resources, when it comes time to provision networking resources, you're really very limited," Kelly Herrell, VP and GM of the Software Networking Business Unit at Brocade, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet. "You don't get to choose between physical and virtual network resources, and you also don't get to choose between different vendor products."

DNRM will change that situation and allow OpenStack administrators to provision multiple physical or virtual network devices. Any combination of networking vendor gear can also be supported in an OpenStack deployment.

"This is not a Brocade-specific benefit. DNRM is good for any network infrastructure that can work with OpenStack," Herrell said. "This is very much a blueprint for the good of the community."

Herrell explained that DNRM intercepts network calls between the OpenStack Nova Compute module and the OpenStack Neutron networking module. DNRM then provides administrators with a set of orchestration capabilities and can spin up its own set of virtual network machines.

As a blueprint, DNRM is a complex extension to the OpenStack architecture that OpenStack developers will need to accept into the project. The target for inclusion would be the OpenStack IceHouse release, due out in six months.

Brocade will be demonstrating DNRM next week at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong.

Why Open Source?

Brocade is not a company that is well known in the open source community, though Herrell has lots of experience in that area. Herrell joined Brocade via the acquisition of his company Vyatta back in 2012. Vyatta is based on open source Linux technologies.

Herrell said that he sat down with the new CEO of Brocade, Lloyd Carney, earlier this year to discuss how he could help push the business forward with open source initiatives.

"In talking with Carney, I said what we need to do to be relevant is to throw our open source shoulder against OpenStack," Herrell said.

The general idea is that network buyers today aren't buying based solely on features, but rather on context. That is, enterprise network buyers need to understand how a vendor can fit into a given context, whether that's a cloud deployment or otherwise.

"This is first time that Brocade has put a substantial amount of code into open source and that's good - it's all part of the new direction for Brocade," 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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