Brocade announced Nov. 5 that it will buy Vyatta, which has developed an on-demand network OS that can deliver a virtualized network infrastructure, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition will give Brocade additional resources to develop a vision of a software-defined network that extends its network fabric into a range of server hypervisor environments. Vyatta creates the networking and security services required to connect separate pools of compute and storage–whether the pools were created by traditional network virtualization methods such as VLANs or by newer methods along the lines of SDN.
Vyatta’s OS has been downloaded more than 1 million times, company executives said, and more than a thousand networks incorporate the technology. In mid-October, Vyatta announced version 6.5 of its OS, adding policy-based routing, BGP multi-pathing and support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology.
“All of this excitement has been in pursuit of the next frontier of IP networking,” Kelly Herrell, Vyatt’a chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “No longer is networking something that happens only outside the server; now it extends into the server itself, creating a new world of virtual topologies that complement the physical ones surrounding them. And the world is rapidly waking up to this exciting new frontier.”
Earlier this year, Brocade developed a hybrid mode that allows customers to run SDN technology concurrently over the company’s production networks. It also runs OpenFlow at 100-Gbit Ethernet speeds. Vyatta will couple its network virtualization and SDN technology with Brocade’s Ethernet fabric.
Oddly, Brocade itself has been one of the companies warning about the unfulfilled promises of SDNs.
“Pundits claim it will commoditize networking equipment and save customers millions of dollars,” John McHugh, chief marketing officer at Brocade, wrote in a blog post in early October. “It will squeeze all of the unused bandwidth out of existing networking infrastructure and deliver lightning-fast performance. It will allow the network to be completely programmed for optimum application performance, regardless of what application is running and what other applications might coexist on the network. In fact, the only thing greater today than the promise of SDN are the promises of those who are pushing SDN.”
But analysts remain optimistic about the synergies of the two companies, noting that no real overlap exists. “The gap Brocade had in its SDN story is that it didn’t have a virtual router to connect virtual network domains (or even physical ones) inside a cloud provider, wrote analyst Zeus Kerraval. “Vyatta will be used initially at the rack level to connect virtual network environments at the cloud provider level (or eventually between cloud providers). Vyatta gives them these capabilities.”