Virtualization, SDN and Vyatta

August 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment

“That’s how change happens:  Slowly first, then all at once.”
   – Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
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Virtualization is driving a very interesting dichotomy in adoption of software-based networking.

On the one hand there’s the adoption of discrete networking components within virtualized servers.  It started with virtual switches, and moved up to virtual routers/firewalls/VPNs.  That adoption pattern has taken off like a scalded cat; vSwitches are everywhere these days, and Vyatta has gone from selling our first virtual router 18 months ago to now closing in on 10,000 virtual routers under contract with large customers around the world.

Then there’s Software-Defined Networking (SDN).  This movement is much earlier in the adoption cycle, but because of the broad architectural implications it’s producing an overwhelming noise level in the industry.  One thing is clear, however:  The adoption of SDN technologies is following a pattern similar to the former trend in that it’s starting at Layer 2, the lowest level of IP networking.

What’s interesting is how these two movements are so highly complementary to each other.  SDN controllers typically control virtual switches, and virtual routers are a natural extension to enable connectivity between the new virtualized L2 segments.

We often get asked if Vyatta competes with other SDN players.  The fact is Vyatta is a key and growing element of SDN environments because Vyatta VMs pick up where SDN network segments naturally leave off. 

This is why this week we launched our “Empowering SDN” initiative.  By leveraging Vyatta’s highly stable networking platform customers can build out their network connectivity using trusted, mature protocols for routing and security with the flexibility and agility of software.  This can be confidently deployed today while the SDN underpinnings are being architected at Layer 2, which takes time.

It’s a bit like building a new home.  Roofs are quickly put up so the builders can continue the work inside, protected from changing weather.

This is undoubtedly the most exciting time the networking industry has seen in ages.  Vyatta was founded on the premise that networking software and hardware would decouple as it did in computing.  And when systems decouple, brand new architectures are envisioned and enabled.  With Virtualization and SDN now firmly in play, Vyatta is right in the middle of it.

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