AT&T, which is aggressively virtualizing its network, took another step with the purchase of the Vyatta network operating system (OS), the vRouter, and related assets from Brocade Communications Systems. The announcement, which also said that some Brocade employees related to Vyatta would be hired by the carrier, was made on June 2.
The press release says that the acquired technology and brain power will help the carrier reach its goals of virtualizing 55 percent of its network this year and 75 percent by 2020. AT&T will take ownership of the OS, several virtual network functions (VNFs), the distributed network platform, software that is under development, existing software licenses and related existing and applied for patents.
The value of virtualization to a carrier is significant. The ability to change just about everything about the service provided to a customer without physically touching the network is a breakthrough. It is not only more efficient and cheaper for the carrier, it services customers far more quickly.
AT&T certainly has bet the farm on the concept, which is a big deal for the concept because of the size of its network and the company’s influence. It is not surprising that the profound switch from physical to virtual networking is progressing unevenly.
Today, SDxCentral reported that the carrier remains “fully committed” to an OpenStack-based approach to virtualization despite having come up short of its deployment goals last year. OpenStack, an open source cloud OS that dates back to 2010, is used in AT&T Integrated Clouds (AIC) zones, which is where the carrier runs its virtual network functions (VNFs). The carrier created 100 by the end of 2016. It ended with about 80. It plans to have 100 by the end of this year, the story says.
It will be interesting to see how Vyatta plays into the speed of the transition. Broadcom is not interested in all of Brocade. EWeek says that the carrier “plans to complete the deal for Brocade’s software-defined networking (SDN) products and research projects before Broadcom closes on its $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade.” This suggests that there must be some sort of arrangement between Brocade and Broadcom to adjust the price or other elements of the $5.9 billion deal.
Vyatta is not the only element of Brocade that is being jettisoned before Broadcom takes over:
When Broadcom announced its plans to buy Brocade, officials said they wanted Brocade’s products in the area of Fibre Channel SAN switching, and planned to sell its IP networking business. AT&T’s deal came the same week that Pulse Secure announced it was buying Brocade’s virtual application delivery controller and integrate it into Pulse’s Secure Asset Suite.
Pulse Secure will acquire Brocade’s Virtual Application Delivery Controller (vADC) family, under an agreement announced last week. The deal includes the lease to a research and development facility in Cambridge, U.K. and customer support and maintenance contracts.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.