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Free And Open SDN From Brocade

In a "take no prisoners" bid for SDN business, today Brocade began offering its Vyatta Controller free for one year. Brocade, best known for its storage networking hardware, is betting on openness as the key to adoption, and has been ramping up the push behind the Vyatta Controller since announcing it in September.

A license for the Brocade Vyatta Controller is normally priced at $100 per attached node per year, including support. Users can download the code at the Brocade website. The free license provides management of up to five physical or virtual network nodes in a non-production environment, and includes 60 days of free 24x7 access to the Brocade Technical Assistance Center.

This isn't the first time we've seen free or very inexpensive SDN. Pica8 offers a free trial and a starter kit. The NEC ProgrammableFlow controller is reportedly available at a very reasonable price through a partnership with Dell. And several SDN vendors, including Cisco and Big Switch, offer starter kits to help customers get their SDN implementations off the ground.

But according to Brocade, the Vyatta Controller is different because it is platform-independent, host OS- and hypervisor-agnostic. It is also a fully tested and documented edition of the OpenDaylight platform, and Brocade has committed to contributing any enhancements back to the community to ensure interoperability with other OpenDaylight-based controllers on an ongoing basis.

And the flexibility of this controller could be the incentive IT pros need to take the SDN leap. It's free, and it works with physical and virtual platforms from multiple vendors (theoretically, at least). As Brocade Product Manager Lisa Caywood noted on her blog, "The single biggest challenge for any organization looking at SDN is simply getting started, non-disruptively." She added that there are a great deal of online resources -- formal tutorials, GitHub, Q&As, and a new DevNet page -- to help learn about the technology. 

Are you interested in trying out the Brocade Vyatta Controller? Let us know in the comments.