Big Switch SDN Fabric Gets Red Hat OpenStack Certification

Vendors pitch OpenStack clouds with SDN on bare-metal switches

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

December 16, 2014

2 Min Read
Big Switch SDN Fabric Gets Red Hat OpenStack Certification
Bare-metal switches running SDN fabric by Big Switch in the company’s own data center (Source: Big Switch video)

Big Switch Networks, one of the hottest startups building software defined networking solutions for data centers, has gotten its SDN fabric for bare-metal switches certified as compatible with Red Hat’s OpenStack distribution.

SDN is a way to make data center networks agile by creating virtual (or logical) networks on static hardware infrastructure. Because the network is virtual, network configurations are done automatically and quickly, which also opens up a lot of automation possibilities.

Web-scale data center operators, such as Google and Facebook, have been using SDN software they write internally to manage networks built on low-cost commodity hardware. Companies like Big Switch are trying to sell more traditional enterprises on the web-scale approach as alternative to the usual route of buying all-in-one hardware-software bundles from the likes of Cisco and Juniper.

Even some of the so-called “incumbent” network vendors have been adjusting to the new market, where competition from commodity hardware vendors and SDN startups has been heating up. Juniper announced a white-box data center switch of its own this month, and Dell has opened two of its switch product lines to two non-Dell operating systems – one by Big Switch and the other by Cumulus Networks – earlier this year.

This week Dell also announced its “open” switches would support OpenStack SDN by a startup called Midokura.

Cisco’s reaction to the SDN movement has been to support leading SDN standards, but at the same time to focus on its own proprietary SDN technology called Application Centric Infrastructure.

Support for Multiple Open Source Clouds

OpenStack is a widely used open source cloud architecture, and Red Hat is one of the more well-known OpenStack distribution vendors. Big Switch has an OpenStack SDN partnership with another major distribution provider named Mirantis.

A company can use the combination of OpenStack and Big Cloud Fabric to create a private or a public cloud, build a big data analytics environment with virtualized compute, or build infrastructure to provide virtual desktops to employees.

OpenStack isn’t the only cloud architecture Big Switch supports. Big Cloud Fabric has also been certified to gel with the Citrix CloudPlatform, based on another open source cloud project called CloudStack.

Commenting in a statement on Tuesday’s announcement, Mike Werner, senior director for global technology ecosystems at Red Hat, said, “This collaborative approach of engineering, testing, and certification between our two companies allows our mutual customers to confidently deploy next-generation private or public clouds.”

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