Big Switch Debuts Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 for SDN

Big Switch is a company that has more experience than most when it comes to software defined networking (SDN). That experience has led to multiple evolutions for Big Switch and its technology over the years, with the most recent evolution being the launch of the Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 platform.

Gregg Holzrichter, Chief Marketing Officer at Big Switch, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that the Big Cloud Fabric was originally launched in 2014 and expanded earlier this year with integration for VMware.

With the Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 release comes the Switch Light VX technology, a network operating system that can run on virtualized KVM hypervisors. Switch Light VX joins the existing the Switch Light OS, which can run on bare metal open networking switches. As such, Big Switch now supports both hardware and software deployments of its core technology platform.

From an operating system perspective, Big Switch also supports the Open Network Linux project, which is the bottom bare metal component of Switch Light OS. The Open Network Linux element has no relevance to the virtual environment and the new Switch Light VX. Big Switch has actually been talking about various iterations of Switch Light since at least 2013.

Moving forward, Big Switch plans to also support Docker containers in the future. Prashant Gandhi, Vice President, Product Management and Strategy at Big Switch Networks, explained that in many cases, it’s likely that Big Switch customers will deploy containers inside of a virtual machine environment.

“We integrate into VMware environments, so as Docker containers come into that environment, we’ll support that,” Gandhi said.

From a networking perspective, Docker recently announced a technical preview to enable networking, called libnetwork. Gandhi was unsure if Big Switch is supporting it, given that it’s currently a preview in Docker 1.7. That said, Gandhi is optimistic about another Docker effort, Swarm, a multi-host deployment technology.

“As Swarm matures, we think that’s the right opportunity to actually provide full automation and visibility,” Gandhi said.

Big Switch is also expanding its monitoring fabric with a new update that enables deduplication and packet modification services.

The entire Big Switch platform is now also being sold in a new elastic manner that enables a more agile form of pricing. Big Switch historically has had a model that included reselling hardware as well as software.

“Despite the fact that we’re a software company and we don’t manufacture any hardware, we chose to resell hardware,” Gandhi said. “So a customer could get one throat to choke.”

What Big Switch now offers is an elastic model that provides services on a usage model as opposed to an ownership model.

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

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