It is truly exciting to witness rapid adoption of our SDN fabric solutions – Big Cloud Fabric and Big Monitoring Fabric – by mainstream data centers for production use.  These SDN fabric solutions are inspired by hyperscale networking designs, such as Google’s Project Jupiter, with three key principles: open networking hardware, SDN control plane and leaf/spine (Clos) fabric.  More over, these SDN fabrics are driving disaggregation of Netframe – traditional switch chassis that are mainframe of networking – for faster, simpler and more economical networks.

Today, we are opening Chapter 2 of our Hyperscale Networking to All vision with new innovations for SDN fabrics and introduction of elastic pricing model for on-demand fabric consumption.  Figure 1 below provides a summary of our announcement.

Figure 1: Big Switch Innovations for SDN Fabrics and New Elastic Pricing Model

Big Cloud Fabric 3.0

This new release brings new capabilities to both OpenStack and VMware environments.

Industry’s 1st Unified P+V SDN Fabric on Open Hardware: Till now, BCF operated as a physical leaf/spine fabric (P-fabric), controlled by the BCF Controller.  In 3.0 release, BCF extends to support KVM virtualized environment, thus providing a unified network stack for physical and virtual networks for OpenStack clouds (see Figure 2).  The Unified P+V Fabric modes consists of:

  • Switch Light VX – a user space agent on Open vSwitch (OVS) kernel module acts as a companion to Switch Light OS on physical leaf/spine switches for consistent P+V network experience
  • BCF Controller for P+V – provides single pane of glass for P+V provisioning, visibility and troubleshooting (vSwitch-leaf-spine-leaf-vSwitch).
  • Resilience for OpenStack – with Big Switch’s L2/L3 plugin for Neutron networking, complete network automation is provides including distributed virtual routing and NAT/PAT (for OpenStack floating IP).  This addresses the resiliency and performance challenges of stock L3 Neutron agent.

Figure 2: BCF 3.0 unified P+V fabric for OpenStack Clouds

 Powerful and Intuitive GUI: BCF controller supports CLI, GUI and API with remarkable consistency, as both CLI and GUI are clients of REST API.  In particular, the 3.0 GUI is significantly enhanced with modern, web 2.0 style user experience, streamlined workflows and fine-grain visibility/analytics.  Even CLI-gurus are opting to use the GUI to simplify their day-to-day operations.  Check out the BCF Product/GUI demo.

 Deeper VMware Support: The 3.0 release extends integration and visibility with VMware in multiple dimensions.

  • Network automation for vSphere 6 – provides complete BCF P-fabric automation and VM-level visibility to network admins
  • Support for VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) – enables customers to deploy VIO on Big Cloud Fabric
  • vCenter GUI Plugin and vRealize Log Insight Support (tech preview) – allows virtualization/cloud admins to have granular visibility to BCF P-fabric to speed up troubleshooting with networking team

Docker Container Networking (tech preview): With unified P+V capability, Switch Light VX can host Docker containers, with Big Switch plugin embedded in Docker Engine.  Video demo previews the architectural capabilities, including container network provisioning on P+V fabric, fabric visibility and troubleshooting for containers.

Big Monitoring Fabric Innovations

Pervasive security and monitoring are becoming critical in data center due to sophisticated cyberthreats as well as for ensuring application performance SLA.  Big Monitoring Fabric – a next-generation Network Packet Broker (NPB) – provides a simple and scale-out tap/span aggregation network at an ultra-low price.  New innovations now focus on:

  • x86 service node to provide high-performance NPB services such as de-duplication and packet modification.  BMF Controller acts as a single pane of glass for managing both NPB fabric and service nodes.  Multiple service nodes can be deployed in scale-out scenarios, with load balancing and service chaining natively provided by the fabric.  With x86 based standard servers leveraging Intel DPDK, BMF service node brings attractive price points compared to proprietary NPB with bolt-on and expensive software license.  Beta begins later in Q3, 2015.
  • Support for dense 100G switch for monitoring 100G links in carrier and cloud data centers at whitebox/britebox Ethernet switch price points.  Beta to start in Q4, 2015.

Elastic Pricing Model

In our conversations with carrier customers, there is a clear requirement for infrastructure suppliers to provide usage- or consumption-based pricing model, including for hardware equipment.  To this end, Big Switch is taking the lead to offer an elastic pricing model inclusive of switch hardware, SDN software and technical support.  Instead of procuring the fabric under current pricing model, customer can opt for the elastic model where 2X network capacity is provided at no additional cost.  This excess capacity can be consumed on a pay-per-use basis at $599/switch/month.  Big Switch is offering three BCF configurations with upfront price (equal to 1X base capacity at current price) as shown in table below.  Note that our current pricing model remains intact for standard configurations.


Open networking train has left the station and disaggregation of proprietary, box-by-box Netframes is underway with SDN fabrics.  Innovation velocity in networking is here to stay for today’s workloads (cloud computing, Big Data, NFV, VDI, software-defined storage, …) as well as for tomorrow’s data centers with containers and Internet of Things (IoT).

Welcome to 21st Century Networking!

Prashant Gandhi

Vice President of Product Management & Strategy


Laucnh Webinar: Live Webinar Registration


BSN Blogs:

Google’s Jupiter and Disaggregation of Netframe


Launch Support Videos:

CEO Vision - Hyperscale Networking (video)

Founder’s Perspective - Networking Innovation (video)

The Big Switch Architecture - Disaggregating Netframes! (video)

Product Overview - Introducing Big Cloud Fabric 3.0: P+V edition (video)

Business Model Innovations - Introducing Elastic Pricing Model (video)

Big Switch - Be Awesome: Company Culture (video)


ESG Lab Review:

Big Switch Networks’ Big Cloud Fabric 3.0


Helpful Links:

Elastic SDN Pricing (resource page)

Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 (resource page)

Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 (data sheet)

OpenStack: Unified P+V SDN Fabric (resource page)

Big Monitoring Fabric (resource page)