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Big Cloud Fabric 4.0 Released

February 1, 2017

Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) includes comprehensive networking support for hyper-converged solutions powered by VMware vSAN and virtual desktop and application solutions with VMware Horizon, as well as multi-container networking support for Mesosphere DC/OS and Kubernetes container orchestration platforms, including Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. With further increases in performance, scale and deployment flexibility, Big Cloud Fabric is the ideal next-generation switching network for the software-defined data center (SDDC).

“Innovation velocity is imperative for companies around the world who have turned to Big Switch to make their vision of a next-generation data center a reality,” said Douglas Murray, CEO, Big Switch Networks. “Interoperability in heterogeneous environments is mandatory for modern networks. With the newest BCF capabilities, we further deliver on our promise of differentiated networking solutions that surpass the requirements of our customers, while offering unprecedented operational simplicity and the ability for network, compute and storage teams to seamlessly work together.”

Big Cloud Fabric is inspired by and incorporates design principles that hyperscale organizations like Google and Facebook use to build agile and flexible network architectures leveraging software-defined networking (SDN) controls, open networking switches and fabric design. Big Cloud Fabric is the optimal networking fabric for OpenStack environments as well as multiple VMware solutions via a single point of integration for the entire fabric. In VMware environments, BCF connects with the VMware 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 VMware NSX® network virtualization deployments, VMware vSAN environments, and VMware vCloud NFV for service providers. In addition, BCF’s Content Pack for VMware vRealize Log Insight provides in-built fabric analytics and significant operational value to VMware admins. BCF enables networking to operate at the speed of virtualization.

In container environments, the BCF controller enables both virtual and physical network automation as well as fuller visibility of container-to-container traffic across the network, via integration with Mesosphere DC/OS, Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 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.

Hyper-Converged-Ready Data Center Networking

As IT departments seek to improve productivity while decreasing OpEx and CapEx, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has become the preferred architecture because of its scale-out flexibility and operational simplicity. BCF is also ideally suited for HCI solutions powered by vSAN due to cluster-level visibility provided directly within the BCF Analytics dashboard for simplified management and faster troubleshooting. Additionally, BCF also includes one-click multicast for vSAN, enabling streamlined deployment. Enhanced automation, simplicity and visibility of East/West traffic in scale-out hyper-converged environments significantly streamlines operational workflows between network, compute and server teams. With a dedicated vSAN dashboard, BCF’s Fabric Analytics supports historical and real-time telemetry and the ability to visualize vSAN nodes and clusters. Big Switch is also extending Big Cloud Fabric’s support for VMware Horizon deployments, thus enabling rapid provisioning of virtual desktops and VDI-aware visibility. Big Cloud Fabric is a networking “easy button” for any VMware workload.

Container-Ready Data Center Networking

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.

With this release of Big Cloud Fabric, Big Switch is showcasing API integration for Mesosphere DC/OS container orchestration, Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Kubernetes managing Docker or Mesos containers and the ability to deploy heterogeneous container environments on the same physical fabric. Big Cloud Fabric delivers unprecedented network automation for container connectivity, container-to-container troubleshooting and container-level visibility, which ensures the network can be configured for rapid and scale-out container deployment. Container network visibility and in-built 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. Additionally, BCF supports multi-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 environment 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.

Additional Big Cloud Fabric Enhancements

BCF’s fabric-level innovations now deliver greater performance, scale and reach. Updates include:
•Extreme Performance -- support for 25G/100G open networking switches
•Dell EMC Z9100-ON (32x100G)
•Edgecore AS7712-32X (32x100G)
•Enhanced Scale -- 128-leaf pod fabric supporting 5000+ physical servers and tens of thousands of virtual machines/containers
•Broader Reach -- L2 extension using VXLAN for inter-pod and inter-DC connectivity
•VMware vSphere 6.5 support

Dubai Municipality chose BCF for its next-generation data center network, which is fully integrated and orchestratable with VMware and future-proofing to support OpenStack environments. Dubai Municipality’s data center modernization project was part of the Smart Dubai initiative, which aims to create a city where all its resources are optimized for maximum efficiency, where services are integrated seamlessly into daily life, where it protects both its people and information, resulting in a more enriched life and business experience for all.

Dubai Municipality’s deployment leverages a “core and pod” approach which provides enhanced visibility and automation for vSphere server virtualization deployments. The Big Cloud Fabric controller integrates directly with VMware vSphere to automate the network application deployment on the physical SDN fabric.

With Big Cloud Fabric, Dubai Municipality was able to:

•Combine its three data centers to one logical network domain, which resulted in the reduction of physical and logical migrations costs by 90%.

•Increase switching speed by 42x

•Increase backbone capacity by 16x

•Increase network performance, speed and bandwidth

•Reduced overall infrastructure size

•Reduced migration complexities and costs

•Increased visibility into critical network traffic via fabric-wide span

The second phase of Dubai Municipality’s data center modernization project is to deploy VMware Horizon VDI, which will integrate with Big Cloud Fabric so that Dubai Municipality is able to simplify, automate and rapidly provision its VDI environment.

Big Cloud Fabric Release 4.0 is currently shipping.

Big Cloud Fabric support for container orchestration is available for customer demonstrations.

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