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Big Switch SDN Fabric Adds Hyper-Converged, Container Support

Big Switch Networks Inc. announced that its software-defined networking (SDN)-based fabric now supports hyper-converged solutions from VMware Inc., along with multi-container environments.

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) refers to a modern, software-centric approach that tightly couples disparate resources such as compute, storage, networking and virtualization into a single solution supported by one vendor. In this case, HCI products from VMware Inc. are now supported by Big Switch's Big Cloud Fabric (BCF), now in version 4.0.

Along with HCI, containers -- another next-generation datacenter technology -- also get a nod in the enhanced BCF offering. Big Switch yesterday said it added "comprehensive networking support for hyper-converged solutions powered by VMware vSAN and virtual desktop and application solutions with VMware Horizon, as well as multi-container networking support for Mesosphere DC/OS and Kubernetes container orchestration platforms, including Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform."

The new BCF further strengthens the ties between Big Switch and virtualization leader VMware.

"In VMware environments, BCF connects with the VMware vCenter API to provide physical network automation and end to end network visibility for VMware vSphere," Big Switch said in a statement. "BCF is an ideal SDN network fabric underlay for VMware NSX network virtualization deployments, VMware vSAN environments, and VMware vCloud NFV [network functions virtualization] for service providers. In addition, BCF's Content Pack for VMware vRealize Log Insight provides in-built fabric analytics and significant operational value to VMware admins. BCF enables networking to operate at the speed of virtualization."

Big Cloud Fabric 4.0
[Click on image for larger view.] Big Cloud Fabric 4.0 (with a Leaf-Spine Clos Architecture) (source: Big Switch Networks).

In a blog post, Big Switch exec Prashant Gandhi provided more details about the additional container support.

"In container environments, the BCF controller enables both virtual and physical network automation as well as full visibility of container-to-container traffic across the entire network, via integration with Mesosphere DC/OS, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift orchestrators managing Docker or Mesos containers," Gandhi said.

"Automated, policy-based rapid application and micro-service deployment is now possible via BCF without having to wait for manual switch-by-switch operational steps required with legacy networks," he continued. "For integrating with container orchestration systems, Big Cloud Fabric leverages the standards-based Container Networking Interface (CNI) plugin framework to automate both physical and virtual networking."

In the hardware department, BCF 4.0 adds support for 25G/100G open networking switches from Dell EMC and Edgecore, along with new 32x100G switches. It can also now scale to encompass 128-leaf pod fabrics supporting more than 5,000 physical servers, along with tens of thousands of virtual machines/containers. More details are available in a data sheet.

Big Switch said that while BCF 4.0 is now available, its support for container orchestration is available for customer demonstrations.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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