Brocade’s Acquisition of Vyatta an Aggressive Push into SDN

Last month Brocade’s Ken Cheng, vice president of service provider products, hopped into theCube to discuss the advantages of software-defined networking. SDN is the the concept of creating an abstraction layer that separates software from hardware and drives down administrative costs as a result.

The most notable tidbit from the interview was his point about Brocade’s technology allowing for virtual networks that run on top of existing infrastructure, and eliminates the need to rip and replace told hardware. This is one of the main reasons the freshly announced acquisition of Vyatta makes so much sense for the company.

Brocade revealed that it’s buying the privately held firm for an undisclosed amount. The Belmont, CA-based startup offers an open-source network OS that’s fully compatible with standard x86 processors, as well as most virtualization and cloud platforms.  The system has been downloaded by over one million users, and it seems to fit rather well with Brocade’s plans for SDN.

“Virtualization is a mega-trend that is transforming IT infrastructure. Server virtualization requires that networking address the boundaries between physical and virtual networks.” says Wikibon Sr Analyst Stu Miniman. “The acquisition of Vyatta bolsters Brocade’s position as an open and independent networking vendor. Brocade is pushing hard to attract service providers that are at the leading edge of adopting software-led infrastructure.”

Terms of the deal were not made public, but the price tag on Vyatta’s is likely a substantial one. The company raised $45 million in venture capital since its founding in 2005, and it is set become a central part of Brocade’s Software Networking Business unit once the transaction finalizes. The Vyatta team will report directly to Cheng.

SDN is still in its infancy, and all the big vendors are looking for their head start. VMware found its opportunity in Nicira, a network virtualization startup it acquired for $1.2 billion a few months ago.