We’re pretty excited here at Big Switch. We have just reached an important milestone with our online training camp at labs.bigswitch.com. The team has been watching the sign-up requests increase, and last week we crossed the 1,000 active users mark! Wow. For context, this is about as many CCIE certifications as were given in the US between 2007 and 2010.


[new active user accounts]

A small team from engineering and marketing started labs.bigswitch as an internal demo tool in early 2014. We soon had a number of “friends of the company” asking if they could use it by themselves to give their own demos and training sessions. So, the team put together an alpha version of an external training tool last summer, and it rapidly became part of our “day 1” product training regimen for our own new recruits. We previewed it at NFD8 back in September while still in beta, and started to see almost 100 new active users per month thanks to write-ups like this one from Nick Buraglio and tweets like these from Bob McCouch (@bobmccouch) and Amy Renee (@amyengineer).  

The number of new active users per month grew to 300 when we “went GA” with labs.bigswitch in February. The lab sign-up infrastructure groups users together (usually by organization) so you can see what other members of your team are using. (See the “Activity on Labs” feed on the right in the screenshot below.) Some of our larger customers now have 20-30 active users collaborating across different modules, and our larger partners now have 50-80 people active on labs. For us, it’s been exciting to see so much engagement.


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If you haven’t tried it, labs.bigswitch is organized as a series of lab modules. There are four public modules today – a Big Cloud Fabric overview, a Big Cloud Fabric/OpenStack module, a Big Cloud Fabric analytics module, and a Big Tap Monitoring Fabric overview. Each module has a simulated network topology (e.g., a three- rack leaf-spine CLOS like the one below) with access to the Controller’s CLI, GUI, and REST API. The hosts (simulated underneath using Linux containers with a lot of tap/tun magic from mininet) are accessible so you can try simple commands like ping or nc to test out routes and policies (Big Cloud Fabric) or filters and delivery policies (Big Tap).


Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 2.29.57 PM.png


While there are the four public modules today, I am lucky enough to see the internal demos of the new ones coming down the pipe. Exciting stuff ahead!

Many thanks to those on the Labs team – Ted, Jason, Venkat, and Sunit – and to the broader group from engineering, technical marketing, and product management teams who chipped in to get various modules in shape.

One thousand users in just a few months, now with basic training on our SDN software…  It is an exciting time to be in networking.

– Kyle Forster, Founder, Big Switch Networks