& cplSiteName &

Big Switch Girds for SDN Battle

Craig Matsumoto
11/13/2012
50%
50%

In coming out with its first commercial product, Big Switch Networks seems ready to define some battle lines in software-defined networking (SDN). As expected, the company is promoting a network architecture that uses OpenFlow to program Ethernet switches. As has been fashionable in SDN circles lately, Big Switch is also espousing the idea of a hybrid network -- one where OpenFlow-enabled gear is installed next to traditional routers and switches. That's not quite the same as the overlay model proposed by Nicira Networks Inc. -- now owned by VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) -- and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Those companies talk about using APIs to create tunnels for certain types of traffic, whereas Big Switch would use OpenFlow to reprogram the forwarding tables of switches. The other way has the backing of two large companies. But Big Switch, in making its first commercial-products announcement on Tuesday, is bringing in more than 25 partners, including five major switch vendors. "They're very far along. We're really impressed by them," says Eve Griliches, an analyst with ACG Research .

Opening up
Big Switch calls its vision of the network Open SDN, and it's based on a familiar three-layer setup proselytized by the Open Networking Foundation . Big Switch uses its controller to talk "south" to network infrastructure (Ethernet switches, primarily) and, separately to receive commands from cloud orchestration tools via "northbound" APIs. The controller could use any protocol to talk southbound, in theory, but OpenFlow is the one that's in the market now, and that's where Big Switch is putting its efforts. One crucial element of Big Switch's plan is the use of open interfaces in the north and south directions. Nicira supports open interfaces northbound but doesn't have as universal an approach on the southbound side. The openness is what's allowed nearly all the major switch vendors to team up with Big Switch. Namely, they can create interfaces so Big Switch can talk to switches that don't support OpenFlow. At the last two Interop shows, held in September and May, vendors seemed to be climbing over each other to declare interoperability with Big Switch. That sets up a pretty big distinction. "Nicira only works southbound with their own virtual switch," Griliches says. "Big Switch operates with any OpenFlow-enabled physical or virtual switches in the network." Service providers would prefer to see the northbound and southbound interfaces be open, Griliches says. That's because a groundswell of applications is expected to emerge now that SDN has become a hot and venture-fundable area, and no carrier wants to suddenly find out its applications don't work on a particular vendor's gear. Tuesday's announcement lists five of the biggest switch vendors among Big Switch's partners: Arista Networks Inc. , Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR). As for the companies not included -- yeah, Cisco is on that list. "As of right now, we are not working with them," says Jason Matlof, Big Switch's vice president of marketing. Nuts and bolts
The central piece being announced Tuesday is the Big Network Controller, Big Switch's OpenFlow controller. Big Switch already made the heart of the controller, Floodlight, available via open source. For its production release, the Big Network Controller adds some heavy-duty enterprise features, such as support for high-availability clusters, or other features tied to performance at high scale. The latter point is important, because while Big Switch is announcing general availability of its products Tuesday, it's been running them in production networks -- the types owned by financial firms and content providers -- for some time, Griliches says. "If you've got guys who are already using it in production networks where their traffic is equivalent to Tier 1s, I don't think you have to worry about scalability," she says. Big Switch is also announcing two applications of its own: Big Virtual Switch, which automatically provisions virtual machines into servers, and Big Tap, a network monitoring aid that replicates data information to promulgate among several monitoring tools. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:47 PM
re: Big Switch Girds for SDN Battle


I emphasized the southbound partners (Ethernet switch vendors) but the majority of the 25+ partners announced today are on the northbound side. Lots of them are little cloud companies I haven't heard of yet -- but Microsoft and Citrix stand out, as do (on the security side) F5, Radware and Palo Alto.


The difficulty with the "open" philosophy is that you have to work at all these partnerships. Otherwise, you get an open interface that nobody's bothering to use.


I'm definitely seeing a Big Switch vs. VMware vs. Cisco battle heating up. If you see it differently, do let us know.

big_thinker
50%
50%
big_thinker,
User Rank: Lightning
12/5/2012 | 5:17:45 PM
re: Big Switch Girds for SDN Battle


agreed... they can give run for the money to major players like vmware and cisco and others....    

From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
Orchestration Startup UBiqube Pivots Away From NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/15/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.