The first word in Software-Defined Networking is software. With the acquisition of Vyatta, Brocade is the now the first word in Software-Based Networking (SBN). Does that make Brocade the first word in SDN? Not exactly; SBN and SDN, though related, are not necessarily the same thing. Software-based networking can help you get on the path to SDN – but it is only part of the SDN story.
Software-Defined Networking promises to unleash a dynamic and more flexible approach to networking; one where business needs can define the network instead of the network defining the business. The point is to make the network programmatically managed, and build the network on a common set of APIs so that all the elements can work together.
Software-Based networking, on the other hand, provides tools for recreating physical networks in virtual environments. Software-based networking extends to network architecture the same benefits that virtualization has created for applications – the ability to build without new hardware, to deploy on demand and to move resources without getting on your knees and unplugging power supplies and tracking cables. Software-based networking includes the full range of network devices - running in software - so virtual switches, virtual routers, virtual firewalls, virtual VPN devices . . . all able to run in a local hypervisor or in the cloud.
A software-based network solution can support SDN, but it can’t truly be called an SDN solution until it can be managed by and provide feedback to a network controller which in turn can get direction from applications. Vyatta can be controlled via software today, but not through a widely accepted set of APIs. So Vyatta is a step towards SDN, but not a leap.
That said, with an SBN solution like Vyatta, you gain many of the benefits of SDN today. With Vyatta you can network with the agility of software. For example, with Vyatta you can set up a new router, configure firewall rules or turn a server or a server farm into a scalable, multi-tenant, virtual data center -- and you can do all this with the click of a mouse. Better still, Vyatta’s advanced routing and VPN capabilities provide the ability to securely connect islands of SDN with each other and with your broader network.
To try an SBN solution, download Vyatta from here, and take the first steps towards SDN.
"Editor's note: we have received lots of feedback about the term SBN. Just for clarification, this is not going to be a Brocade marketing term going forward, but is offered by this blogger as food for thought"