As the next-generation data center networking company, we at Big Switch are busy bringing game changing innovations to data center switching with our Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) solution. Data center customers no longer need to be concerned with the complexity and cost of box-by-box networking. Like Dubai Municipality, they can deploy an easy to use, highly cost optimized switching fabric (BCF) that provides deep visibility and is fully automated in VMware and OpenStack environments. Inspired by hyperscale networking architectures, Big Cloud Fabric leverages SDN control software, open networking switch hardware, and leaf/spine fabric design to build a scalable, resilient and high-performance switch fabric. Unlike box-by-box based switches, BCF consists of dozens of racks operating as one (redundant) logical switch. This logical switch is managed through a single pane of glass (GUI, CLI or API) and has a plug-in based architecture to automate with third party orchestration systems.

As software-defined data center adoption accelerates, customers are increasingly choosing hyper-converged infrastructure and container solutions. Big Switch Networks believes the network should be a leading enabler for SDDC, and deliver the velocity, scale and performance necessary for hyper-converged and container environments. To this end, we are announcing the following Big Cloud Fabric innovations: 

  • Deep visibility for vSAN (VMware’s hyper-converged solution
  • Support and visibility for VMware Horizon View VDI
  • Multi-container support with network automation, container visibility and container-to-container troubleshooting, including Red Hat OpenShift, Mesosphere DC/OS, and Kubernetes container orchestrators, with Docker or Apache Mesos containers
  • BCF Virtual Pods (vPods) for Multi-Orchestration (VMware, OpenStack, Containers)
  • High-performance 25G/100G switch fabric (with 32x100G switches from Dell Z9100-ON and Accton/Edgecore AS7712-32X)
  • Doubling fabric scale (again) to 128 leaf switches and six (6) spines which can connect to 5000+ servers and thousands of VMs/containers
  • Inter-Pod/Inter-DC L2 Extension with VXLAN, further simplifying disaster recovery and workload migration use cases

Hyper-converged Ready Networking with Deep Visibility for VMware vSAN

In VMware SDDC environments, BCF connects with the vCenter API to provide physical network automation and end-to-end network visibility for VMware vSphere. BCF is an ideal SDN network fabric underlay for NSX network virtualization deployments providing overlay visibility (VXLAN ID, Logical Switch) to network admins.  For vSAN, BCF provides an “easy button” to rapidly deploy hyper-converged infrastructure, providing automatic host connectivity to leaf switches, auto creation of vSAN transport network and one-click multicast.  With vSAN cluster-level visibility and a dedicated vSAN dashboard in Fabric Analytics (to review vSAN related events and logs), network teams now have deeper awareness of the virtualization environment, and can rapidly troubleshoot connectivity and performance issues.

VMware Horizon View VDI Support

Big Cloud Fabric supports Horizon View VDI solution, extending the benefits of network automation, visibility and troubleshooting to Horizon View. In addition, VDI-level VM information is made visible to network admins, such as the desktop VM’s GuestOS. Additional details are provided in the video demo.

Integration with Multi-Container Environments

As the demand for container technology accelerates in enterprise and service provider data centers, a next-generation networking architecture is required to keep up with the rapid lifecycle of container instantiation, elasticity and retirement. Switch-by-switch legacy networks are ill-suited for container workloads with traditional CLI management, which makes orchestration-driven provisioning of workflows extremely tedious. Deep visibility is necessary for network managers to track what hosts (virtual or physical) containers are running on, when they are invoked, scaled, turned off and if they move.

In container environments, the BCF controller enables both virtual and physical network automation as well as full visibility of container-to-container traffic across the entire network, via integration with Mesosphere DC/OS, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift orchestrators managing Docker or Mesos containers. Automated, policy-based rapid application and micro-service deployment is now possible via BCF without having to wait for manual switch-by-switch operational steps required with legacy networks. For integrating with container orchestration systems, Big Cloud Fabric leverages the standards-based Container Networking Interface (CNI) plugin framework to automate both physical and virtual networking.   

1. Big Cloud Fabric Controller automatically detects Linux hosts for containers

2. Container-related network is automatically provisioned on Big Cloud Fabric controlled vSwitch (based on OVS) as well as leaf/spine fabric. Container-level visibility is also provided

3. Container-to-container connectivity issues can be traced across the physical + virtual fabric with a single click in the BCF Controller GUI (or via CLI)

4. BCF’s built-in Fabric Analytics dashboard for containers ensures that networking teams can easily identify where issues originate: container, server, or network, which is critical to reducing time to troubleshoot and resolve application performance issues

 For additional details, please view video demos on BCF + Kubernetes/Docker at the recent Network Field Day, BCF + Mesosphere DC/OS, and BCF + Red Hat OpenShift.

BCF Virtual Pods (vPods) for Multi-Orchestration

BCF supports multi-orchestration (VMware, OpenStack, Container) environments via a unique virtual pod (vPod) architecture, which enables multiple orchestrators to operate within logically isolated management domains while sharing a common physical networking fabric. vPod is ideal for use cases such as rapid CI/CD driven applications deployments, multi-tenant managed service environments to support varied customer workloads, and dev/test private clouds. By eliminating the need for dedicated infrastructure per orchestrator, BCF’s vPod provides tremendous CapEx savings while bringing an order of magnitude speed-up in application deployment and service enablement.

 Deploy Next-gen Network Innovations Complexity-free

Big Cloud Fabric’s “logical switch” architecture, external SDN controller, and API-centric design are the critical ingredients to rapidly bring innovations unheard of in legacy box-by-box based networks. To learn more, please check out the following resources:

Ready to test-drive Big Cloud Fabric? Sign up for our online labs to experience next-generation data center switching. Feel free to reach out to us at for more information on Big Cloud Fabric and to join us on this journey as we continue to innovate and disrupt the status quo of networking.

Prashant Gandhi
VP and Chief Product Officer