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Latest Brocade ODL controller, apps ease use of open source in cloud

Brocade has released an ODL controller upgrade and apps for building private and public clouds based on OpenDaylight and OpenStack.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. has upgraded the commercial version of its OpenDaylight (ODL) controller, aligning the software with features in the latest version of the OpenDaylight Project's open source model.

Brocade also released this week applications that run with its controller to make it more useful in regulating traffic flow from switches and routers within a software-defined network. The combined releases further Brocade's strategy of becoming a major provider of open source, software-defined networking (SDN) technology.

"All in all, you can see that Brocade is looking to position itself as the leading OpenDaylight vendor, doing additional work to provide a robust version of the code and also adding its own applications to the mix," said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC, based in Framingham, Mass.

The Brocade SDN Controller 2.0 (formerly Vyatta Controller) is based on the Lithium release from the ODL Project. As a result, Brocade's product includes an Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) interface and the OpenStack Modular Layer 2 plug-in, both features in the open source version.

An OVSDB interface lets the Brocade controller direct a virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) topology, which is an overlay network on existing Layer 3 infrastructure. VXLAN technology makes it easier for network engineers to scale out a cloud-computing environment.

The Layer 2 plug-in lets the Brocade controller connect to OpenStack implementations. OpenStack is an open source modular architecture used in the data centers of large cloud service providers.

Brocade also is supporting Lithium's technology for controller clustering. The feature lets organizations deploy an unlimited number of controllers. This is useful in running large-scale networks and in creating controller backups. Before Lithium, only three controllers could be used in a cluster, according to Kevin Woods, director of product management at Brocade.

Brocade SDN controller 2.0 applications

OpenDaylight is a useful technology for enterprises and cloud service providers building OpenStack private and public clouds, respectively. OpenStack is an attractive option for enterprises, but requires expertise not found in many IT departments.

As a result, many of these organizations are looking to vendors like Brocade to "package and deliver production-grade software with the requisite service and support," Casemore said.

The overall market for cloud infrastructure, including servers, storage and Ethernet switches, is expected to increase more than 26% this year to $33.4 billion, a third of all IT infrastructure spending, according to IDC. Private cloud infrastructure will account for more than a third of the market.

By 2019, the total cloud infrastructure market will reach nearly $55 billion, or almost half of all spending on IT infrastructure, IDC reported. Spending on private cloud infrastructure will reach about $19 billion.

With that growing market in mind, Brocade is releasing applications to heighten the usefulness of its controller. The Topology Manager, available at no charge, maps an organization's network topology. The resulting schematic lets administrators create a list of switches and routers and conduct simple searches for them.

A related application is the Flow Manager that uses the topology schematic in performing traffic engineering and network segmentation. Brocade has also built into its latest controller support for the recently released Flow Optimizer, which is used to direct traffic flow in ways to mitigate network attacks.

The Brocade SDN Controller 2.0 costs $100 per attached router or switch per year, including support. The Flow Manager costs $40 annually per switch and router.

Next Steps

Getting trained on OpenDaylight controllers, APIs

Testing labs for OpenDaylight use cases

Differences between SDN control, network orchestration

Dig Deeper on SDN control plane

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