Big Switch Expands Integration With VMware in SDN Software

The company is updating its Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric by increasing support for VMware and OpenStack environments.

network virtualization

Big Switch Networks is adding support for such uses cases as security monitoring, network-functions virtualization and IP storage to its Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric offerings in an effort to expand the reach of its network virtualization technology.

The updates, which include deeper integration with VMware's virtualization technologies, support for Red Hat's latest OpenStack platform, additions to Big Switch's DPDK-based service node and support for the latest ASICs from Broadcom, will give enterprises more reasons to adopt software-defined networking (SDN) in their infrastructures, according to Big Switch CEO Doug Murray.

"We understand the importance of innovation velocity and are rapidly adding transformational capabilities in support of our mission to make hyperscale-inspired networking available to anyone," Murray said in a statement.

Big Switch is among a broad array of vendors that have launched over the past several years to address the growing demand from end users for greater flexibility, programmability and affordability in their networks as they deal with rapid changes brought on by such trends as mobility, big data and the cloud. SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV) aim to make networks more agile by removing the control plane and network tasks from the underlying hardware and putting them into software.

Big Switch's technologies are focused on enabling customers to run physical and virtual networks on bare-metal switches. The company is seeing momentum, according to officials. They said earlier this year that there was a 300 percent increase in customer wins in 2015, and in January raised another $48.5 million in funding, bringing the total amount raised since launching in 2010 to $94 million.

Company officials said Big Switch now has multiple customer deals of more than $1 million across multiple regions and verticals, with such name customers as Verizon, Clemson University and the U.S. government, as well as 10 of the 15 largest telecommunications vendors. Big Switch's BSN Labs now has more than 3,000 users.

Big Switch officials hope to keep that momentum going with the new updates to its software. With Big Cloud Fabric, a leaf/spine SDN fabric for open networking switches, the company is offering a new virtual machine (VM) controller to help businesses grow their NFV deployments. In addition, Big Switch is including an improved VMware vCenter GUI plug-in to simplify provisioning and operations, support for software-defined storage (SDS) with production deployments with Red Hat Ceph, the addition of controller-to-vSwitch and controller-to-controller traffic to Big Switch's crypto security for SDN control plane, and a plug-in for Kubernetes container orchestration.

For OpenStack environments, Big Cloud Fabric now includes integration with Red Hat's OpenStack Platform 8 release. In addition, Big Switch, in conjunction with Dell and Red Hat, tested a 300-node scale benchmark using Red Hat's OpenStack platform and Dell's Open Networking switches.

With Big Monitoring Fabric network packet broker, Big Switch added such capabilities as advanced features to its DPDK service node, and integration with products from such partners as Blue Coast and Riverbed Technology.

With both Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric, Big Switch officials added support for open networking switches from Dell and Edgecore Networks that run on Broadcom's latest Trident-II+ and Tomahawk chips. The switches include Dell's S6100 Tomahawk-based platform, which officials said will double 40G fabric scale for both Big Switch products. The software also will support copper 10G switches and fiber 10G and 40G platforms based on Trident-II+.

The platforms will be available for beta trials in the third quarter.