Cloud and Vyatta: A Perfect Fit

October 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm 1 comment

“People don’t buy drills, they buy the holes they make. “
– Ted Levitt, Harvard Professor of Marketing, circa 1960


In all things, the value is what is enabled; the physical mechanism is just the means to an end.

In networking, it’s easy to forget this.  For decades we defined a network by the proprietary boxes used to create it.  What we wanted — routing and security — we acquired by deploying physical mechanisms.

Cloud computing jolts us awake from this pattern. In the pursuit of a radically new IT architecture customers focus on the functions they need, not how it is physically employed.  This results-oriented focus frees us from the mental constraints of the past and changes the way we think about how we acquire and deploy solutions to achieve our goals.  It also explains why Vyatta has been pulled into cloud infrastructures around the world.

At the base level, a cloud environment needs to be dynamically enabled, scalable, secure, and platform-neutral.  News Flash: Vyatta is the only networking software solution in the world that can satisfy these goals.  A few examples:

1. Dynamism: Cloud environments change quickly; new customers are added, new apps launched, new policies required.  A cloud must respond at a moment’s notice, and software is the best way to do this.  Need a new firewall?  Spin up a new Vyatta image.  Change a topology without moving boxes and cables?  Just move around Vyatta virtual machines.

2. Scalability: This, of course, can mean many things.  “Scale-up” a VPN aggregator to many thousands of tunnels?  Use multiple Vyatta virtual machines on the same server.  “Scale-out” firewalls across your application base?  Just add more Vyatta images as needed.  “Scale-in” your physical inventory?  Eliminate the need to depot proprietary devices, and use Vyatta on the same server infrastructure that you use everywhere else.

3.  Security: This is huge in the cloud environment.  Applications are accessed over a WAN, which means VPNs are a new standard requirement — they’re needed inside the cloud in a variety of topologies, and as a “secure modem” on the user’s premise… both are use cases for Vyatta.  Need LAN segregation inside the cloud?  Use Vyatta for VLANs.  Doing credit-card transactions from the cloud?  PCI compliance is easily satisfied with Vyatta firewalls in the cloud.

4.  Platform-Neutrality: To maximize cloud economics, customers need solutions that run on a variety of open hardware, and on a variety of virtualization platforms.  Vyatta does both… today.  Servers from Dell, HP, IBM, Supermicro, etc?  Vyatta runs on all of them.  Virtualized on VMWare, XenServer, KVM, or Microsoft Hyper-V?  Again, Vyatta today.

In case you’re wondering if the above is all theory, it’s not.  Vyatta has customers today doing everything listed above. And some of the most interesting use cases haven’t been publicized yet.

Look beyond Vyatta’s open-source heritage and what you will find is an extraordinary amount of value that has been unlocked by virtue of industry standards, open architectures… and software-based networking.  Some say our head is in the clouds. On that, it appears, we violently agree. 😉


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ahmed M. Dirie  |  October 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Kelly, that last part just hit it home. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been working on putting Vyatta on the Amazon Cloud, and the experience has been quite extraordinary. After mentioning the concept of ‘routing, security, and high availability’ in the cloud to a colleague still stuck on Cisco, the idea was overwhelming.

    With Vyatta, the possibilities are endless, and our company is standardizing on Vyatta as its core infrastructure. Great work!


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