Big Switch Building SDN Fabric

Physical and virtual Software Defined Networking stack is now under active development.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 1, 2013
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Big Switch, one of the pioneers in the Software Defined Networking (SDN) movement, is building out its platform with a series of new fabrics, demonstrated this week at the Open Networking Users Group (ONUG) Conference in New York City.

Kyle Forster, Big Switch Networks co-founder, told Enterprise Networking Planet that his company is now building out new solution sets to meet the evolving needs of the SDN market.

One of Big Switch's new solutions is a Monitoring Fabric that will provide network administrators with the tools needed to monitor an SDN deployment.

"We're packaging Big Tap with Switch Light for bare metal switches in a new Monitoring Fabric," Forster said. "Big Tap is the application layer, Big Network Controller as the controller and Switch Light as the switch operating system."

Big Tap is a commercial SDN monitoring solution that Big Switch first announced in November of 2012. Switch Light is a technology that enables the OpenFlow protocol on physical and virtual switches.

The other new fabric from Big Switch is its Cloud Fabric, which includes components to manage both physical and virtual switches.

The Cloud Fabrics approach is fully integrated with the open source OpenStack cloud platform, such that an entire network can now be managed. The Big Switch Fabric approach is all about unifying physical and virtual control. The way the OpenStack network control works is that all of the tenant workflows go through the OpenStack Horizon dashboard.

"You never need to log into a switch," Forster said. "Everything for basic network operations can be controlled through OpenStack."

In Forster's view, organizations moving to SDN need to choose whether they are going on a path that includes overlay technologies or the physical plus virtual (P+V) approach.

"We're all going after the network virtualization feature set. The question is which architectural path you take to get there," Forster said.

From a product roadmap, Forster said that over the next two months, Big Switch will likely have a few announcements as the Cloud Fabric solution moves from alpha to beta and as Switch Light progresses.

"By packaging up all the technology as a solution, it just makes it easier to consume," Forster said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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