"The era in terms of proprietary systems is definitely coming to an end. Customers don't want vendor lock-in. They want something that's open," said Beni Sia, Director for South East Asia at Brocade.
Tapping on this demand, networking solutions provider Brocade, has launched the Vyatta Platform - whereby "vyatta" means "open" in Sanskrit.
The company claimed that this new networking platform is the industry's first articulation of this open strategy. It added that the aim of the Vyatta platform is to deliver an open and modular networking platform specifically for cloud and telecommunication service providers.
Sia explained that the reason Brocade targets telcos is because of the shift in buying power for data centres - "enterprises yesterday, cloud providers today, and telco service providers tomorrow".
Chee Keong Lam, Brocade's Asia Pacific Director for Data Centre Fabric and Virtualisation, added: "More service provider data centres are going to be built - in other words, a data centre proliferation is taking place. As a result, buying power is shifting a lot more. There is now a transition from application clouds - like Amazon and Rackspace - to subscriber clouds. And this is something that service providers today are very interested in because it helps them realise revenue a lot faster and more efficiently."
What exactly is a networking platform?
According to a Heavy Reading white paper titled The Network as an Open Platform: Driving New Market Value for Telcos - conducted on behalf of Brocade - networking platform is defined as an "integrated set of software-based components that together provide the functionality of the network and its associated management capabilities."
In other words, the platform manifests the network to the external world as a seamless layer of software. It is analogous to data centre middleware, which can be reconfigured, enhanced and extended rapidly and automatically, through programmatic interfaces.
"Virtualisation is what drives the change from product to platform," Lam said. "There are many layers to the networking platform, but there is no mention of how these different layers communicate to each other and we believe that there is an open standard way of doing it."
Three key principles of an open network platform
Firstly, it is completely modular. The three layers - network OS, network controller, and virtualised infrastructure manager - are separate entities that can interoperate with each other. Each layer is also modular in that each can contain components from multiple participants in the ecosystem. This enables customers to select the products and solutions that fit their particular data centre requirements.
"This modular characteristic enables multi-vendor participation," Lam elaborates. "We don't do everything in every layer because we don't believe that we do well in everything. Instead, we provide service providers the option of choosing different best-of-breed suppliers. Different players at the orchestration, control or services layer can simply come in, plug, and play."
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