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SDN and NFV architectures in the age of the New IP: OpenNFV Partner Corner


Authored by: Brocade – An OpenNFV Pre-Tested, Deployment-Ready Partner


Unless you have been hibernating or leading a recluse’s life, you are well aware of the impact of SDN and NFV in the networks of today and tomorrow. While the core value propositions of each of these two transformational elements have been well articulated, not much light has been shed on the variations in the architectural approaches themselves that customers are faced with.


There are really just two architectural approaches in the broadest sense - the Open and the Closed architectures. The former’s greatest shining light is the community based Open Daylight approach, one that Brocade not only subscribes to but has also made available a commercial offering to the market (and some innovative pricing and licensing to boot) that adheres to the spirit of Open in the purest sense.


The closed architectures are ones that are advanced by large competitors in the industry today.. Put simply – these architectures are exclusively in the vendors’ control and they determine the associated partner eco-system! Talk about a throwback to the old IP! But let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute – what if a customer wants the assurance of a large company to guarantee that the solution works – the SDN controller and the associated VNFs? Certainly that is a worthy ask of any vendor but how different is this than the old IP days where vendors were offering a vertically integrated box with the “assurance” that all the piece parts would work. The customers have rebelled against that vociferously and now are in danger of essentially getting shackled by a “vertically integrated eco-system”.







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So if that gives you the heebie-jeebies, what is the alternative? Back to where we left off? The Open alternative.


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Again let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. With such an “open” approach who guarantees interoperability and seamless operation? Something that the price gouging hardware vendors of the old IP ostensibly used to do. This is really a million dollar question. By relying on the old IP hardware vendors – think Cisco, Juniper – to undertake this role, you are letting the fox guard the hen house.


Let’s take a step back to understand what the common denominator is in these New IP architectures – COTS servers running Intel. This common substrate automatically prevents lock-in and allows for competition in this new IP world. And who delivers these servers on which the New IP software runs? This is where the server vendors of the world coupled with the new IP software vendors could prove to be your ticket to paradise. Think HP. Brocade’s decade long strong OEM partnership with HP now gives you the strength of a global hardware vendor with logistics capabilities bar none coupled with the Brocade Vyatta Controller based on the OpenDaylight Project and the richest VNF offering from a vendor and you have your panacea.


But wait, there’s more. One of the biggest challenges in the “open eco-system” model is the vendor interoperability and assuredness that arguably in the “closed” models was provided by the incumbent vendor. Who takes reins in this new open eco-system model? That’s where HP’s OpenNFV ecosystem comes into play. OpenNFV is a NFV technology initiative that enables communications service providers to accelerate innovation, launch, and delivery of services. HP OpenNFV offers up HP labs as a sandbox in which carriers and equipment vendors can test and validate NFV applications. As Brocade is a member of the OpenNFV ecosystem, its customers can now be rest assured of interoperability by using the Brocade Vyatta vRouter and other vendors’ functions of their choice to test and validate under the OpenNFV facilities. Now the circle is complete!


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