Single SDN Fabric for Multi-Container Ecosystems.

Big Cloud Fabric delivers network automation, deep visibility and rapid container-to-container troubleshooting in multi-container environments.

Containers are a new atomic unit of computing that is ideal for emerging cloud-native, distributed applications. Data center operators are evaluating various container technologies, including Docker, Kubernetes, Mesosphere and Red Hat OpenShift.

Containers offer a layer of abstraction, not unlike to what virtual machines offered when virtualization first arrived on the scene. However, Containers are lightweight in using the host footprint because they share an underlying operating system unlike a VM which hosts its own guest OS.

Comparison chart of VMs and Containers

Containers enable micro-services based distributed applications where an application is decomposed into multiple network-connected micro-services, with each micro-service packaged in its own container. This highly-distributed application architecture leads to tremendous increase in east-west traffic compared to monolithic applications.

Distributed applications vs monolithic applications

Containers enable applications portability by allowing applications to be developed on a laptop and run on a server or in a cloud environment. “Develop once, run anywhere” is a powerful software development paradigm shift, which also benefits IT organizations to achieve continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) processes for application lifecycle management.

The container networking challenge thus becomes to automate network configuration for rapid container deployment, visualize the health of container instances on the network, and provide a consistent network operational experience with container ecosystems.

Legacy networks with their box-by-box operational model becomes a bottleneck for containerized environments. If each switch needs to be configured manually for attaching new servers as well as for container addition and deletion, the agility and elasticity of the distributed application is severely impacted. Legacy network is proprietary hardware based with clunky CLI and limited GUI capabilities, making orchestration a difficult, if not an impossible, proposition.

Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) is the next generation data center networking fabric that leverages SDN to deliver intelligent, agile and flexible container networking.

Big Cloud Fabric leverages software-defined networking (SDN) to provide a one big “logical switch” governed by a centralized controller. This solution delivers simplified network operations, visibility and telemetry of containers and their hosts, and network automation for rapid application and micro-services deployment. The scale-out architecture of Big Cloud Fabric accommodates future growth in east-west traffic, caused by an increase in micro services deployment, without breaking the bank. Its SDN architecture works on open industry-standard switch hardware that allows vendor choice and also reduces costs.

 scale-out architecture of Big Cloud Fabric

Big Cloud Fabric’s container networking solution involves having a BCF agent in the container orchestration layer and a BCF container plugin in the host.

The BCF agent in the container orchestration layer allows multiple container environments to be securely instantiated on a single BCF fabric, allowing for a consistent network operational experience and dramatically reduce cost and complexity. Multi-container environments can even be co-located along with OpenStack and VMware environments on the same BCF, with each environment fully isolated for secure operation. There is no need to have container technology specific silo networks.

The BCF Controller enables full visibility of traffic from container-to-container across both virtual and physical networks, and automatic network configuration of the network segment to which the containers belong. Rapid application and micro service deployment is now possible without having to wait for manual box-by-box operational steps required in a legacy network. Container end-points connected on the network now become visible. This helps application troubleshooting on the network. Container health insights via network traffic is provided via fabric analytics features. Given containers’ ephemeral nature with quick addition and removal based on usage, historical replay capability is also provided to better understand the underlying dynamics for better troubleshooting and planning.

Big Cloud Fabric makes networking container-ready. Networking finally operates at the speed of container. Click here to learn more

How to Get Started with BCF?

It’s easy and free to get started with Big Cloud Fabric.

Big Cloud Fabric Community Edition is free and can be downloaded from http://www.bigswitch.com/community-edition. All you need is one or two open networking compliant switches validated by Big Switch.

To try BCF on-line, sign up for our free Big Switch Labs and test drive variety of use cases.