Announcing Free Community Edition plus BCF 3.5 & BMF 5.5 Innovations 

At Big Switch Networks, we have been laser focused over the last few years on two key missions - rapid product innovation to address expanding customer use cases and rapid customer adoption of modern (hyperscale-style) data center network solutions. Both objectives go hand in hand and form the core tenets of our vision to disrupt the status quo in networking.

Earlier this week, we took another step in that journey and announced significant updates to our flagship products - Big Monitoring Fabric™ (BMF) and Big Cloud Fabric™ (BCF), and also introduced free Community Edition software.

Making Modern Networking Accessible

In the pursuit to make modern networking available to a broader community, we introduced BMF & BCF Starter Kits starting at $29K and $39K respectively in October 2014.  In early 2015, we followed that up with the launch of  Big Switch Labs - a free online portal to try our products and solutions.  Both Starter Kits and Labs have seen great traction with almost 2500 registrants in the online portal.

We've now taken the next step -- launching networking industry’s first “freemium” model with the Community Edition for both product lines. Our goal is to enable a broad set of users to experience the simplicity of managing modern networking fabric solutions.  The Community Edition can be downloaded for free. It includes:

  • Software: Solutions worth over $25,000 are now available for everyone to download, deploy and trial in their labs or production environments.

  • Hardware: Increasingly we have found that standard, open networking hardware is already available in R&D labs of organizations large and small. For those that need to procure switching hardware, cables etc, we have also enabled an e-store for ease of purchasing white-box and brite-box switches.

Rapid and Continuous Product Innovation

One of the key enablers for us is the speed at which our product teams innovate and deliver new features and functionality.  While there is a lot of focus on the financial benefits of SDN and Open Networking based solutions (rightfully so!), our ability to listen to, learn from and deliver solutions for our customers in short sprints is a huge differentiator.  With the latest GA releases, Big Switch product teams continue to deliver new features and functionality with exceptional quality.

Big Monitoring Fabric 5.5 Innovations

  • Intel x86 based Service Nodes: Pervasive, on-demand network visibility that is economical to deploy and operate, is a message we have heard loud and clear from our customers. Our goal with Big Monitoring Fabric is to continue to decouple the linear relationship between network infrastructure/tool spend and monitoring infrastructure costs. With Intel DPDK based Advanced Service nodes for DPI-like functionality, we have taken the same philosophy (“simple, scalable and economical”) to advanced packet functions, and in many respects leapfrogged the traditional Network Packet Brokers. 

  • 100G Switch HWSupport for high-performance 32x100GbE switches from Dell (Z9100-ON) and Accton (AS7712-32X); also operates in 10GbE/40GbE modes and is future proof for 25GbE/50GbE
  • Advanced Fabric AnalyticssFlow Collector, historical time series, DHCP / DNS / ICMP trackers for enhanced monitoring
  • Security Service Chain (Inline Mode) Enhancements: Driven by cybersecurity needs, the inline mode simplifies deployment and change management of multiple DMZ/Extranet security tools. Enhancements include flexible policy-based service chaining, custom messages for tool health and sub-second health checks. 

Big Cloud Fabric 3.5 Innovations

  • Logical vPods: Fundamental to our product architecture is the notion of “disaggregating netframes” -- enabling faster innovation and eliminating vendor lock-ins. With BCF vPods we are bringing the same choice at the data center orchestration layer.  A single BCF Pod can now support multiple, isolated vPods, where each vPod can be associated with a different vSphere or OpenStack controller.  For lab setups, dev and test deployments, or even production Pods, the level of agility, choice and flexibility this provides is unprecedented.  Click to view a short demo video of the Multi-Orchestration Support with Single BCF.
  • Enhanced Visibility & Automation for VMware vSphere: VMware vCenter 6.0 GUI Plugin that provides visibility and L2/L3 fabric configuration to vCenter admin upon authorization by network admin
  • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack to provide cloud admin Big Cloud Fabric visibility and analytics
  • OpenStack: Certification with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 7
  • Security: Cryptographically secure communication between BCF Controller and BCF fabric switches

To learn more, I invite you to check out the latest presentations, videos and demos that cover some of the topics above in more detail.

Feel free to reach out to us at for any comments and questions, and join us on this journey as we continue to innovate and disrupt the status quo of networking.

Sunit Chauhan

Head of Product Marketing