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Big Switch Expands SDN Fabric Support to VMware NSX

Big Cloud Fabric, which already supported VMware's vSphere server virtualization technology, now extends to network virtualization.

data center

Big Switch Networks, which in January brought support for VMware's vSphere server virtualization technology to its networking fabric, is now extending that support to VMware's NSX software-defined networking platform.

At the Open Network User Group (ONUG) 2015 conference May 12, Big Switch officials announced that the latest release of its SDN fabric, Big Cloud Fabric 2.6, will bring greater network automation and visibility to VMware-based software-defined data centers by supporting NSX network virtualization through tight integration with VMware's vCenter Server. Through that integration, Big Cloud Fabric, which until recently had primarily supported OpenStack environments, will be able to support any vSphere workload, according to Big Switch officials.

Now a physical leaf-and-spine switch configuration can be automated, and manual intervention is no longer needed for such tasks as adding host or host links, and when creating, deleting or moving virtual machines, the physical network adjusts automatically, according to Prashant Gandhi, vice president of product management and strategy at Big Switch.

"With Big Cloud Fabric, the network now moves at the speed of VMs—a scenario unheard of in traditional box-by-box networking," Gandhi wrote in a post on the company blog.

In addition, through an enhanced Fabric Analytics module in the Big Cloud Fabric 2.6, network administrators have greater visibility into virtualized environments, which is key for trouble-shooting at times when VM connectivity is having problems. The fabric can also determine whether issues are on the physical networks.

"The ability to rapidly root-cause across network and virtualization environment is necessary to quickly resolve issues and minimize application downtime," Gandhi wrote.

SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV) are designed to enable businesses to create highly programmable, scalable and agile networks by removing the control plane and networking tasks from underlying hardware and putting them into software.

Big Cloud Fabric 2.6 is available immediately on a per-switch subscription basis, and existing fabric customers can upgrade without any additional cost. In addition, the company is offering $39,000 and $99,000 Big Cloud Fabric starter kits that include hardware switches, software, cables, optics and support. The kits can connect up to 80 compute nodes.