Big Switch Networks Extends SDN Reach

    IT organizations are now coping with more diversity in the data center than ever. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and clusters loaded with containers are now being deployed alongside existing legacy servers. The one thing they all need to share is the underlying physical network.

    Big Switch Networks today extended its software-defined networking (SDN) to include support for hyperconverged systems based on VMware vSAN storage software as well as container clusters based on Red Hat OpenShift implementations of Kubernetes as well as the Mesosphere DC/OS platform.

    Prashant Gandhi, chief product officer for Big Switch Networks, says Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) already supported Kubernetes, including now the latest 1.4 release of the open source container orchestration framework. Big Switch Networks is now validating specific vendor implementations of Kubernetes as well as extending support out to Mesosphere.

    At the same time, Big Switch Networks is adding support for the latest version of VMware vSphere as well as expanding the types of network hardware BCF supports.

    In general, Gandhi notes that while each of these platforms has their own internal networking constructs, they all need to interoperate with external platforms across the same network. As more of these new platforms get deployed, the need for a SDN to create a network overlay that enables them to more easily interoperate with one another increases, says Gandhi. To solve that problem, Gandhi says, BCF provides access to a centrally managed network controller that leverages REST application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate with everything attached to the network.

    “There’s now a lot more east-west network traffic in the data center,” says Gandhi. “Our goal is to make that manageable via a single controller.”


    As IT environments add more compute and storage in the form of HCI, while at the same time deploying container clusters that inevitably create more demand for network bandwidth, IT organizations are soon going to be stressing existing networks beyond their current capacity. That is not only likely to fuel the need to upgrade those networks, but IT organizations will also need to find a way to manage networks that are about to become more segmented than ever.

    Put it all together and it should be clear to even the most casual observer that something is about to give at the network level in response to a lot more IT infrastructure push from across the entire data center environment.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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