Most of the discussion on software-defined networking is on OpenFlow and the separation of control plane and data plane. However, management and orchestration of that network becomes crucial if you consider all the aspects of a software-defined network, especially in a cloud environment. Enter OpenStack (or any other software Cloud platform such as CloudStack, Microsoft or VMware cloud for that matter). In this blog, let me focus on OpenStack and Brocade’s vision of OpenStack in the context of the software-defined networking vision launch.
But first, isn’t this an exciting time to be in the networking industry? With software-defined networking, innovations will occur across different levels in the market-place: savvy platform vendors, application developers, customers, etc. And as John Hagel and John Brown suggest in their paper, Push to Pull – The Next Frontier of Innovation, the software-defined networking model, which is in line with the “Pull” paradigm, would be mutually beneficially to all the partners in this ecosystem. Perhaps, an early indicator of SDN’s paradigm shifting capabilities was the tremendous Venture Capital interest (maybe a bit too much according to some) at the OpenFlow summit and OpenStack conference last month. But, I digress.
OpenStack is a cloud platform that provides the infrastructure to build cloud services and applications that are simple to implement and are massively scalable. The OpenStack project that focuses primarily on networking is called Quantum. Now, some people confuse Quantum to be similar to OpenFlow which it is not. To be clear, Quantum is an open source code base that manages networking elements while OpenFlow API is a protocol that an OpenFlow controller (working at the control layer) uses to communicate with the OpenFlow switch (working at the data layer). Here is one way on how they could work together.
In fact, few experts I probed to at the OpenStack conference that suggested OpenStack was not related to software-defined networking were doing so to mitigate any risk of the Quantum = OpenFlow confusion in the audience. I hope this now gives you some idea on how both Quantum and OpenFlow fit in the software-defined networking paradigm.
Brocade’s SDN vision is built around all the above elements. Brocade is committed to OpenStack and is optimizing its portfolio of products for providing the plugins to the networking layers of OpenStack. Brocade’s OpenStack solutions will be an important element as current architectures transition to cloud-optimized architectures.
Finally, Brocade is demonstrating OpenStack Quantum support for Brocade VCS (Virtual Cluster Switching) fabric technology, which provides intelligent Ethernet fabric capabilities, enabling the graceful transition to elastic, highly automated, cloud-optimized networks. Please watch this space for more on that soon.