Big Switch Networks is shipping the 4.0 release of Big Cloud Fabric (BCF), the company’s SDN software for data center networks. BCF includes controller software and the Switch Light network OS that runs on white box switches.
The latest version adds support for VMware’s vSAN and Horizon VDI software, and Mesosphere-based containers.
In addition, the company has doubled the number of leaf switches that can operate in a leaf-spine fabric, from 64 to 128. The company says a single Big Switch fabric can now operate with tens of thousands of VMs connected to the network.
Extending VMware Integration
Big Switch has worked with VMware vSphere and NSX for some time. BCF 4.0 extends that integration to include vSAN, the virtual storage capability in vSphere. BCF 4.0 will automatically connect hosts to leafs within a Big Switch fabric. It also gives network administrators a view of vSAN clusters and a dashboard to monitor connectivity and performance.
The goal is to “make it easier to identify whether it’s a network domain issue or a VMware issue,” said Prashant Gandhi, Big Switch’s VP and Chief Product Officer.
BCF 4.0 also now gives network administrators their own window into VMware’s Horizon View VDI software. Virtual desktops show up as clients in the Big Switch management console, and network admins can drill in to get details such as client configuration.
They can also troubleshoot problems by getting historical details on network-related events associated with specific VDI clients.
Mesosphere Joins The Party
Big Switch is extending its support for orchestration platforms, which currently includes OpenStack and Kubernetes, to encompass Mesosphere DC/OS. Mesosphere DC/OS abstracts infrastructure into resource pools and provides a scheduler/orchestration framework to allocate and deploy resources. It also providers a container-based application environment.
(To learn more about Mesosphere, check out this Datanauts episode on Mesos, the Apache project underlying Mesosphere.)
The Big Switch integration includes an agent that resides on Mesosphere hosts to plumb containers into the network. The Big Switch console shows administrators container-to-container connectivity across both the virtual and physical network and provides a dashboard for basic troubleshooting.
As mentioned, other advances in version 4.0 include the ability to run 128 leaf switches in a fabric. The company also announced a feature called Virtual Pods. As the name suggests, Virtual Pods lets a customer run separate application and orchestration stacks on the same physical network.
For instance, you could stand up networking for VMware, OpenStack, and Kubernetes, each of which would run in their own sandbox on the controller. Network resources for each “pod” would be divided into logical domains on the fabric.
Big Switch says this capability would be ideal for service providers that can offer multiple operating environments for customers, or for large organizations that may want to create development and test domains without having to dedicate separate physical racks for those domains.