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Pluribus Puts Netvisor on Dell Open Networking Switches

Pluribus Networks Inc. is partnering with Dell to put its Pluribus Open Netvisor Linux OS on the hardware giant's Open Networking switches.

The distributed network Netvisor OS is Pluribus' software-defined networking (SDN) offering, allowing bare-metal hardware programmability in the Pluribus SDN vision that treats the network as a single entity, like a server, also adding virtualization, clustering and automation functionality.

"Pluribus Open Netvisor Linux combines the benefits of Linux with a plug-and-play, application-aware fabric, advanced network flow programming and embedded analytics and visibility capabilities," Pluribus said today in a news release. The software package will ship with Dell's Open Networking-compatible switches, such as the S6000-ON and S4048-ON.

The Pluribus approach differs from other vendors in some aspects of SDN, a young technology still shaking itself out with different approaches, solutions and philosophies and no real hard-and-fast standards about what SDN should mean. While agreeing with common SDN tenets such as the separation of network data and control planes and use of inexpensive, bare-metal (or white box) commodity hardware, with network intelligence moving from switches to the control plane, Pluribus favors a distributed SDN controller over a centralized controller, espoused by many other vendors and organizations.

The Pluribus 'Single Logical Switch' Approach
[Click on image for larger view.] The Pluribus "Network as a Single Logical Switch" Approach (source: Pluribus Networks Inc.)

"From this comes the ability to create a 'fabric-cluster', presenting the entire network as a single logical unit and allowing VM migration and policy management across L2 and L3 boundaries," the company said in a blog post about its Netvisor technology.

"Additionally, this server-like approach provides a server class control plane, allowing deep integration of switching hardware over high-speed connections, allowing the switch hardware to be virtualized much like a big NIC (albeit one with an unusually large number of ports)," the company continued. "This deep integration unleashes a new class of services and functions, enabling them to run directly on the network, such as the ability to run scalable monitoring and analytics for both physical and virtual flows, without the need to deploy taps and other external monitoring gear."

The company said Pluribus Open Netvisor Linux on Dell's Open Networking hardware works with an enterprise's existing Layer 2 and IP/BGP infrastructure. This interoperability provides familiar management interfaces and Linux-based DevOps tools to work with cloud-based deployments.

"With this combination of Pluribus and Dell, we are demonstrating that the value of SDN goes far beyond disaggregation of hardware and software alone," Pluribus CEO Kumar Srikantan said. "Cloud providers need security, monitoring and virtualization built in at the architectural level to enable them to compete with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other hyperscale cloud providers, and that is exactly what we are delivering with Pluribus Open Netvisor Linux running on Dell's line of OCP-compliant open networking hardware. Together, we are changing the game!"

Pluribus said the bundled Dell switches will be available in the third quarter of this year but provided no pricing information.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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