Vyatta Core (VC) is one of my top fanboy loves. It provides a firewall/router based on Debian Linux but with an elegant configuration system modeled on Junos. Vyatta previously offered VC as a community edition of their commercial router (with somewhat reduced features and a lag time). Their strategy seems to have changed when Brocade took them over, and unfortunately, the project has withered on the vine. I think I can safely pronounce it dead:
The community has already mourned this loss and started seeking alternatives. And yet, a vibrant community feel still exists in a few places:
Why has this happened to such a great product? I think it simply boils down to Brocade (and Vyatta prior to the acquisition) not understanding FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) culture and how to run a successful FLOSS project. Simon Phipps just wrote about how hard it is for companies to migrate to FLOSS and do it well, and VC is the latest casualty in this. Red Hat is one of the few companies doing it consistently.
I think it's several months too late for Brocade to fix this situation. As the above links show, many people have lost faith in Brocade to do the right thing with VC. But hypothetically speaking, what would be the best possible outcome?
Outcome 1 is obviously a bit pie in the sky from me. But there are sound reasons why Brocade should do it. Most significant of these is that the virtual routing space is a hot area at the moment, and making VC the go-to choice for virtual routing would give Brocade the jump on Juniper's vSRX and Cisco's CSR1000v (by undercutting them on price). Vyatta is modelled on the Junos style of configuration, so the learning curve for Juniper engineers would be trivial. And if people go to Brocade for their virtual routing, they're more likely to go to them for their physical network and storage switching.
Furthermore, VC has huge mind share amongst the people who deploy it. The people I've met who use Vyatta love working with Vyatta. I love working with it. It has the potential to gain Brocade many extra customers and avocates, both paid and unpaid. (Hint to Brocade: reasonably-priced support for VC would get you a lot of customers that wouldn't have otherwise paid for VSE.) Embracing the community is a great way to ensure that network/systems engineers who have the opportunity to influence decision makers will influence them towards Brocade.
Let's hope it's not too late, and that Brocade proves me wrong. It would be a shame to see such a great project die. (And I am serious about the offer to become their community advocate. Call me. :-)