& cplSiteName &

Big Switch Intros Flagship Big Cloud Fabric – At Last

Mitch Wagner
7/22/2014
50%
50%

Four-year-old Big Switch finally introduced its flagship product, the Big Cloud Fabric, following a long and winding road that included a change of CEO and a shift in strategic direction.

The Big Cloud Fabric is a "unified virtual and physical switching fabric," according to CEO Doug Murray, who took the helm in November last year and brought in a new management team. It's a pod of rack-mounted commodity or Dell switches controlled by centralized SDN controllers designed to allow carriers and enterprises to deploy SDN without having to rip and replace their entire networks. (See Big Switch Poaches Sales VP From Juniper, Big Switch Names New CEO, and Murray Leads Big Switch Into Bare Metal Battle.)

The Big Cloud Fabric uses Big Switch Networks ' Switch Light OS on bare metal switches from partners CTC, Net One Systems Co. Ltd. , and Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL). Switch Light will also run on virtual switches, such as the Microsoft Hyper-V, Linux KVM, KVM, and VMWare ESX.

"You set up the controller and put it on a pair of servers for high availability -- that's optional, but suggested -- and then you add switches," Murray says. "You program the controller what the rules are to run the fabric, and it auto-provisions the switches. If both controllers go down, the network continues to operate."


Want to know more about SDN? Check out our dedicated SDN content channel here on Light Reading.


The product addresses one of SDN's biggest drawbacks: The promised benefits are big, but so are the costs of replacing installed networking equipment from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), along with the associated networking software, with new technology. In addition, the benefits are hard to quantify and describe ahead of time, and because pure SDN requires replacing the entire network, it's difficult to scope out a proof-of-concept or pilot program. (See How NFV Gets a Foot in the Door for SDN.)

The Big Switch Fabric is designed to allow carriers and enterprises to try out SDN by deploying it for a new OpenStack, Hadoop, or remote desktop service. That gives customers a chance to test SDN for a local installation of a single app, and then deploy it wider if it pays off.

"We're going after cases where people are doing new things with the network," Murray says. "By doing it use-case by use-case, we have wins with customers, we publish the use cases, and that helps us build out our business."

Big Switch allows customers to deploy SDN in complete racks, rather than assemble software, switches, and other equipment from multiple vendors. "Instead of having an SDN erector set, SDN is productized," Murray says.

Source: 'Meccano model Steam shovel excavator'. Via Wikipedia. Meccano was the original name for the toy in Britain, later sold in America as Erector Set.
Source: "Meccano model Steam shovel excavator". Via Wikipedia. Meccano was the original name for the toy in Britain, later sold in America as Erector Set.

Big Cloud Fabric is available to order today, and will ship by September.

When I wrote about Big Switch in February, Christian Renaud, an analyst with 451 Research, said the company suffered from being too far ahead of its time, launching an open SDN product suite in late 2012. (See Big Switch CEO: We're Not for Sale.)

In 2012, when you talked to most carrier executives about SDN, they just got confused.

Original image: laura-C-F

Original image: laura-C-F

Now, Big Switch has a message so simple even a CFO can understand it: Big Switch helps carriers and enterprises transform to "hyperscale networking." You know, like Google, and Facebook, and those other successful guys.

"Over the course of the last five years, the innovators of data center networking have largely been the hyperscale players, the Googles, Facebooks, Amazons and Microsofts of the world," Murray says. "These companies are taking bare metal switches and putting their own software on the switches -- they're delivering on the promise of what SDN started out for."

The initial direction for Big Switch was "overlay networks" -- adding a layer of software on top of existing network to deliver the benefits of SDN. But the company decided that was too complicated and impractical, so it retrenched, converting to a strategy it calls "P+V," for "Physical + Virtual." Big Switch offers SDN on commodity switches sold through partners running Big Switch's own Linux-based softare. (See Murray Leads Big Switch Into Bare Metal Battle.)

Big Switch claims to be one of only two companies in the networking industry using the concept of a controller running on both virtual and physical fabrics. "That's us and Cisco," Murray said. Cisco requires its Nexus-branded proprietary switches, but Big Switch runs on switches from multiple companies, Murray said, giving Big Switch the advantage of openness.

Also on Tuesday, Big Switch announced sales momentum, although it was frustratingly short on specifics. The company says its technology has been adopted across three regions -- Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for one, as well as North American and Asia-Pacific, with customers in the financial industry, service providers, the federal government, and high-tech vendors.

Business doubled quarter-over-quarter in the second quarter, and Big Switch secured its first million-dollar customer in the first half of the year. Big Switch's largest customer is in production in 16 data centers around the world.

Big Switch achieved this momentum without its Dell partnership, which will go live in the third quarter. (See Open Season: Dell Taps Into Big Switch.)

In addition to the Big Cloud Fabric, Big Switch also introduced version 4 of its Big Tap, which directs traffic from a network to third-party network monitoring tools. Version 4 adds support for Dell and Accton Technology Corp. switches, which are based on the Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) Trident II. Big Tap Version 4 now supports data center tunnelling.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/28/2014 | 10:11:36 AM
Re: Also, new offices
@FakeMitchWagner,

Better parking & onsite DC. That's every organizations wishlist. Santa came early this year!
mrcynic
50%
50%
mrcynic,
User Rank: Moderator
7/26/2014 | 5:35:35 AM
Re: Also, new offices
I always thought Big Switch had good technology from the Floodlight days. Wise move by the board to bring in a new CEO who tinkered with the GTM but should have moved more into overlay networking. Moving locations sends a positive message to the employees. We are still inning-1 in overlay networking, inspite of all the big companies and open source technologies joining the party. 

Does anyone know how much revenue they have? 
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/22/2014 | 9:18:42 PM
Re: Also, new offices
@FakeMitchWagner:  I think moving to a newer, better office is a more telling sign than anything else!  I do agree with exorcising the crazy out of it.  Maybe instead of a parakeet they should have a girl and a TV set, just to be safe.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/22/2014 | 12:44:04 PM
Also, new offices

Big Swich also moved to a new office. Their old office, In Santa Clara, had horrible parking; when I visited them in the spring I drove around and around and around the street. The new building, in former McAfee offices, has effectively unlimited parking, adjacent to the new Levi's Stadium, unless there's a game on. "If you're looking ot meet with me on a Sunday in October let's not do it in the office," Murray said. Also, if the building is a former McAfee office, it ought to be exorcised to get the crazy out. 

The building includes space for a data center, so Big Switch no longer has to rent space from a colocation center located off premises. That'll look better when demoing and testing products for potential customesr and partners, Murray says. 

From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
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
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Buy American: Will It Affect the Telecom Sector?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/21/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.