Big Network Controller
Big Network Controller is the network application platform for the Open Software-Defined Network (SDN), providing unified network intelligence, enterprise-class scalability and high availability, and a platform to deploy a wide range of network applications, including data center network virtualization. Big Network Controller uses industry standard protocols, like OpenFlow, to create a common abstraction and universal data model for the underlying network data plane elements. When combined with open and published application programming interfaces (APIs), Big Network Controller offers customers the most flexible platform to deploy universal, network-wide applications built by Big Switch Networks and our partners.
Big Network Controller: The Open SDN network application platform
Traditional Network Control Plane Challenges
The network is more critical than ever before. Business requirements in areas such as cloud data centers, BYOD, and security, have brought new levels of scale, speed, and dynamism that network administrators must now handle. At the same time, the significant shortcomings of traditionally closed and proprietary networking architectures are starting to manifest. Traditional networking devices operate as islands of functionality with disparate features and functionality, different management interfaces, and distinct policy definitions. As a consequence, network configuration today is a highly manual process; each device must be configured on a device-by-device basis. And, since these devices are vertically integrated and do not export any programmatic interfaces, they can’t be programmed or automated to respond to network events. Ultimately, the network is unable to meet the business needs and response time requirements of the customers using the network, with the most obvious challenges in cloud data centers.
The Solution: Big Network Controller
Big Network Controller is the foundation of the Open SDN that enables global network automation, dynamic response to real-time events, and the deployment of universal network applications.
Unified Network Control with Universal Network Abstractions
Big Network Controller provides a unified network control plane offering global programmability to deploy dynamic services across the network. Big Network Controller leverages industry-standard protocols, such as OpenFlow, to abstract the network data plane from the control plane, and to centralize network control logic and intelligence into a common, highly available server. The OpenFlow protocol, standardized by the independent industry standard body, the Open Networking Foundation, establishes a common data structure for control plane messaging, rules, and actions between the controller and associated virtual and physical switches, including switches manufactured by ecosystem partners and switches based on Switch Light, a thin-switching software platform from Big Switch Networks. Centralization and abstraction using OpenFlow enables administrators and applications to directly access and control elements of the network, such as the global topology, switch and host state, and performance information. Such unified control has never been available in traditional systems or multivendor environments.
Enterprise Class Resiliency and Scalability
Big Network Controller is a centralized control system with a distributed data store that supports enterprise class resiliency and scalability. Multiple controller nodes can be deployed in a hot/warm cluster configuration for high availability. Controller nodes fail over to another controller instance in the event of a problem, preserving existing flows and re-establishing the network and provisioning new flows as the backup controller immediately takes over and programs new connections. Big Network Controller can operate in clusters as virtual systems or on physical servers. It operates out-of-band and not in the data path. Each controller cluster can support 1000 switches and more than 250,000 new host connections per second.
Flexible and Open Network Application Platform
Big Network Controller provides northbound APIs that enable universal network applications to be deployed on top of a unified network fabric abstraction. These APIs expose the learned network state to applications, and enable the applications to dynamically and automatically program the network. Big Network Controller is built upon an open core called Floodlight, which is distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. As such, the open Floodlight core makes the APIs open, providing the industry’s first platform-independent network application platform. Big Virtual Switch and Big Tap are examples of applications that leverage these APIs, and others are currently in development from partners.
Open Software Defined Networking (SDN) Platform
The Big Network Controller leverages open protocols, open programming interfaces, and an open core controller, accelerating a partner ecosystem that can deliver SDN solutions to customers. The Open SDN ecosystem and Big Network Controller enable customers to deploy network applications across a multi-vendor network of physical and virtual devices with confidence. Open SDN transforms the network and unlocks the potential of networking devices, which were restricted by traditionally closed and inflexible architectures.