These are the hot buzzwords of the last year or two, yes, but not without cause. Cloud is finally becoming real, albeit a bit differently than many envisioned a few years ago: the relative aggressiveness of public providers compared to most enterprises has created a functional chasm that small and midsize enterprises are unlikely, at this point, to try to fill—it’s easier to outsource many workloads.
The economic realities of the cloud marketplace dictate that service agility trumps almost everything else. Until very recently, this could be accomplished via tight (and expensive, and often lengthy) integration between the physical infrastructure and some sort of cloud management framework, most of which were retrofitted to deal with VMs. Generally the best way to make this work was rigorous standardization of the physical infrastructure.
The rise of Software-Defined Networking (and storage) will complete the general move towards infrastructure abstraction that was begun by server virtualization. In making that technical shift, we also enable a profound methodological one; in the words of Kelly Herrell, Brocade’s VP of Software Networking, SDx moves from a discussion of protocols to a platform.
A platform means many things. It means a common substrate for development. It provides a public square where a market of applications can flourish. It’s a rallying point for organizing a business ecosystem around. It provides flexibility to optimize all the technology above and below it, in place of rigid standardization.
This is where “open” comes in. A platform built on open-source components allows any individual organization to customize key aspects that are of particular interest to it, without having to concoct the whole thing from scratch. An ecosystem that relies on such a platform rather than 1:1 integrations is also a more flexible one, as new partners and interrelationships can be put into deployment fairly quickly. Not surprisingly, most cloud service providers—and many enterprises for whom technology is integral to business strategy–have gotten quite emphatic about their preference for Open Everything, given that their competitive advantage depends upon it.
Brocade recognized this shift was in the works early on. We’ve been part of the OpenStack community since 2011, as well as an initial member of the ONF and the OpenDaylight Project, because we believe these initiatives offer the most practical means for users to achieve their IT and business goals. Our support for OpenStack users and the community to date have included contributions of both plug-ins for the Brocade portfolio as well as architectural enhancements to Neutron and Cinder.
We also recognize that these new forms of networking represent a significant operational shift for many organizations. So Brocade was excited to partner with Red Hat–an open source leader for over 20 years–from the very beginning of the Red Hat community involvement, in order to deliver a streamlined open networking experience to the market. The Brocade OpenStack plug-ins are certified for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform distribution with the goal of providing the easiest, most reliable Openstack experience with Red Hat. We also work closely with our joint customers to learn from their experiences and build best practices into future OpenStack releases.
Brocade values the innovation that results from these intense, collaborative development efforts and enjoys working with Red Hat to help customers deploy customized cloud services at will.