Plexxi Aims to Bring Network Control, Visibility to Hyperconverged Systems

Plexxi's upgraded Connect and Control products offer per-workload segmentation, visibility and security to highly integrated environments.

plexxi network control

Plexxi is upgrading its network fabric to give organizations that are looking to embrace converged infrastructures better control and visibility into their networks.

Traditional data center featured physically separated networks for different workloads like virtualization, big data analytics and storage, which are placed in different compute hardware, according to Plexxi officials. It's a system that's worked well until now, they said.

Organizations that are looking to bring simplicity and reduced operating and capital costs to increasingly complex data and expensive centers are beginning to turn to converged and hyperconverged infrastructures, where compute, storage and networking resources are brought together into tightly integrated appliances.

"People are looking for alternatives" that drive down their costs, Plexxi CEO Rich Napolitano told eWEEK. "We are hyperfocused on hyperconvergence and hyperscale."

The result of convergence and hyperconvergence is that the network, compute and storage are all housed in the same hardware, replacing multiple, separated networks with a single one. So traffic that had at one time run over separate networks now have to share the same network, increasing the need for a network that is automated, scalable and agile.

Plexxi Connect 2.0 and Plexxi Control 2.4 are designed to enable the vendor's fabric to bring per-workload segmentation, security, optimization and visualization to both private and public cloud environments. The new capabilities ensure that workload performance and service quality are met for multiple workloads as they run over the same network, company officials said.

Plexxi officials said the company's Switch, Control 2.4 and Connect 2.0 products make up Plexxi's cloud-building tools that provide deep integration at multiple levels—hardware, hypervisor and management—and bring workload awareness and workflow automation.

Included among the capabilities are integration packs that automate network response to compute and storage operations, with integrations with VMware's vCenter, Nutanix's Prism and Hortonworks' Ambari solutions. There's also per-workload visualization, segmentation, security and optimization, giving organizations better visibility into the traffic.

"Our network is one network that can be programmed to act like multiple networks," Napolitano said.

Plexxi's focus on the converged and hyperconverged infrastructures comes as the markets are expected to grow rapidly in the upcoming years. In the first quarter, while the overall converged infrastructure space grew 11 percent year-over-year to $2.5 billion, the hyperconverged segment jumped 148 percent, to $371.9 million, according to IDC analysts. Hyperconverged infrastructure was a $981.91 million market in 2015, and will grow to more than $4.7 billion, they said. Most major data center hardware makers—including Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo and Dell—are rapidly building out their portfolios, and smaller infrastructure and software makers, like Nutanix, SimpliVity and Pivot3, also are growing in the space.

Over the past couple of years, most organizations have used hyperconverged infrastructures for single jobs, such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). However, Plexxi officials said that as the benefits—such as reduced costs and data center complexity—become more apparent, businesses are putting more and diverse workloads and applications onto the same platforms. That is where the need for fabrics such as Plexxi's—with its per-workload capabilities—is most apparent, they said.