Today, we announced Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 – a smarter and ultra-flexible release of our ready-to-deploy SDN Clos (leaf/spine) fabric for building data center pod networks. It was just last September that we unveiled Big Cloud Fabric – the industry’s only bare-metal SDN fabric – to bring hyperscale-style network design and its benefits to data centers worldwide.  And, over the past few months, it has been truly exciting to see customers going through many “aha” moments as they experience the simplicity and elegance of a controller-based network operational model compared to the legacy box-by-box network.

Operational simplicity and automation benefits are especially noteworthy. Examples include: automatic OS installation & fabric formation, logical tenant-centric provisioning model, rapid change velocity, ease of trouble-shooting and fast software upgrade.  Once customers found Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) very appealing for use cases such as OpenStack and Big Data Analytics, they started asking us about its broader use within their data centers. Thus our design goals for this 2.5 release were very clear from the beginning – significantly expanding deployment options and use cases of BCF and delivering a mature SDN fabric solution running on multi-vendor open networking switches, hypervisors and orchestration systems.

Multi-hypervisor and Multi-Orchestration Support: Support for variety of hypervisors and orchestration systems is fundamental for any networking solution including Big Cloud Fabric.  In our initial release, our primary focus was OpenStack-based cloud automation based on KVM environments.  Now we are enabling network automation for VMware vSphere environments for two broad deployment scenarios:

  • First, for the traditional server virtualization use case – a highly deployed data center virtualization use case – BCF controller programmatically integrates with vCenter to dynamically create networks on the physical fabric when VMs are created.  There is no longer any need to co-ordinate between the server/virtualization admin and the network admin, thus completely eliminating the cross-silo provisioning delay common in datacenters today.
  • Second, for vSphere based cloud environments, BCF integrates into CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform orchestration system so networks can be programmatically created across virtual and physical networks

An important architectural highlight is that BCF controller becomes the single point of integration with vCenter for the entire fabric, versus tens of switch control planes interacting with vCenter in legacy box-based designs which tend to be error-prone and cumbersome to manage.

BCF also supports Microsoft Hyper-V environments for the server virtualization use case.  In regards to open-source hypervisors, BCF supports both KVM and Xen in conjunction with a cloud orchestration system.  Specifically:

  • KVM hypervisor with Red Hat and Mirantis OpenStack distros (including support for RHEL, CentOS and Ubuntu)
  • KVM and XenServer with CloudStack and Citrix CloudPlatform

Deeper Visibility with Fabric Analytics: Visibility to a variety of networking events, such as failure situations, utilization statistics, configuration changes, etc. are very important to network operations teams for trouble shooting, compliance, access control monitoring as well as optimizing overall network design. An important operational benefit of software-defined networking is the increased network visibility that is possible with the adoption of an abstracted and centralized control plane. Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 includes a new module that delivers on this promise: Fabric Analytics.  With a rich feature set that offers real-time analytics, data visualization, and correlation, Fabric Analytics processes aggregated logs and fabric-wide statistics to generate deep data insight, trends, and events identification. It also provides predefined filtering, failure detection, and log analysis. It dramatically reduces time to issue identification and resolution compared to the traditional physical box-by-box management approach, without the need for expensive third-party analytics tools or repositories. This is a game-changer for network admins.

Expanded HCL with Dell Open Networking Switches: BCF 2.5 now supports Dell S6000-ON switch for building physical leaf/spine fabric, and support for future Dell Open Networking Switches is underway.  BCF controller enables auto installation of the Switch Light OS onto Dell ON switches leveraging the ONIE mechanism.  Dell is also reselling BCF SW, thus providing a “single throat to choke” business relationship for the entire integrated solution (hardware, software and support) from a trusted IT leader.

Flexible Deployment Topologies & Use Cases: Earlier BCF release supported a 10G leaf and 40G spine topology for private/public cloud, Big Data analytics and virtual desktop use cases. BCF 2.5 provides additional deployment options, enabling multiple new use cases – including server virtualization, software defined storage and ultra high performance compute – as well as offering a more economical option for smaller pod networks.  All supported topologies and use cases are listed in the table below.

We are excited to see the traction BCF is receiving across multiple verticals (financials, tech, government, higher ed, and service providers) across US, EMEA and APAC in just one quarter.  Customers are also attracted to hyper-scale economics, as evident by the purchases of all-inclusive $39K and $99K BCF starter kits – which include switch HW, BCF SW, cables/optics and support. I look forward to sharing customer success stories mainstream data center pods transition from box-by-box legacy designs to hyperscale-style SDN fabrics.

Welcome to modern networking!

-- Prashant Gandhi, VP of Product Management & Strategy



Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 – Launch Webinar
Join us for a live webinar on Friday, Jan 30 at 10am PT, to learn how Big Cloud Fabric 2.5 accelerates adoption of bare-metal SDN fabrics in data centers with significantly expanded orchestration, hypervisor, use-case and network topology support.

Big Switch Networks Online Labs
If you would like to experience the operational simplicity, centralized management, and intuitive user interface of Big Cloud Fabric, we invite you to sign up for our online labs at and manage a network with your own instance in our hosted environment. Immediate gratification and no physical switches or software to deploy in your datacenter.

Unboxing Big Cloud Fabric
To experience how easy it is to order a starter kit and get up and running, we invite you to view CTO Rob Sherwood’s “Unboxing Big Cloud Fabric” video

Big Cloud Fabric Starter Kits
You can be up and running in less than 10 minutes from receipt of your pre-configured physical switch, cables, network OS, and optics. To learn more about our Starter Kits, please visit

More Info from Big Switch
If you would like to learn more and speak with a Big Cloud Fabric representative, please contact us at