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Big Switch Networks Updates 'Bare-Metal' SDN Controller

Big Switch Networks Inc. today updated its software-defined networking (SDN) controller with extended support for the VMware vSphere virtualization hypervisor and Dell switches, along with baked-in network analytics.

The company emphasizes its open, vendor-neutral approach in the new SDN arena, touting what it calls the "only bare-metal SDN fabric designed to combat legacy box-by-box networking."

Unveiled last July, the updated Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 (BCF) builds on the original edition that only deployed on OpenStack environments by adding support for VMware vSphere server virtualization, integrating directly with VMware vCenter for tasks such as automatically creating networks on physical SDN infrastructure.

"Unlike legacy box-by-box approaches, the BCF controller becomes a single point of integration with vCenter for the entire 16-rack leaf-spine Clos fabric, significantly simplifying programmatic interactions across virtual and physical networks," the company said in a statement.

Also added was support for the Dell S6000-ON Open Networking switch, with the Dell S4000-ON on tap.

"Big Cloud Fabric was the first SDN fabric solution to support hardware and software disaggregation on Dell Open Network switches with the Big Tap Monitoring Fabric," the company said. "Dell now resells both Big Cloud Fabric and Big Tap Monitoring Fabric -- providing customers with proven and supported reference architectures and a -- 'one-throat-to-choke' business relationship for the entire solution."

Big Switch also plans to capitalize on the increased network visibility that comes with the SDN core tenets of disaggregating network hardware and software and the separation of the traditional network data or forwarding plane from a new programmable, abstracted and centralized control plane. To that end, a new module called Fabric Analytics incorporates real-time analytics that can help customers visualize and correlate network data. "Fabric Analytics processes aggregated logs and fabric-wide statistics to generate deep data insight, trends and events identification," Big Switch said. "It also provides predefined filtering, failure detection, and log analysis."

The new fabric also supports multiple hypervisors -- such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM and Citrix XenServer -- along with high-performance storage arrays and SDN storage and high-performance-computing use cases that are evolving as the technology gains traction in the enterprise.

Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 is now shipping -- with the Dell S4000-ON switch support expected in the next couple of months -- with per-switch subscription pricing. The company also offers "starter kits" to help companies test the SDN waters.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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