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SDN Technology

Big Switch Debuts Elastic Pricing for SDN Fabric

SDN pioneer Big Switch on Tuesday introduced the same kind of elastic, on-demand pricing for network infrastructure as New IP providers are offering their customers for network services.

Service providers such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), following the New IP path, are giving enterprise customers the ability to order network services on demand, through self-service portals, with nearly instant fulfillment. But those same service providers looking to put equipment on their network are required to buy servers, and build in advance for peak capacity.

Big Switch Networks is looking to change that with on-demand pricing for its Big Cloud Fabric modules of bare-metal switches loaded with the company's Switch Light network operating system. Using the elastic pricing model introduced Tuesday, network operators pay for four Big Switch racks and receive eight delivered to their door. Beyond the minimum four racks, carriers pay for what they use, at a rate of $599 per switch per month. Network operators can also get higher-end configurations with more racks.

"In the carrier world, that makes sense. They want to consume the way they sell," says Big Switch CEO Doug Murray.

Big Switch's strategy is to provide SDN technology to give service providers and enterprises the same scalable, flexible network infrastructure used by hypercloud providers such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Facebook and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

And the company claims to be succeeding, growing 40% quarter-on-quarter for six straight quarters, and 365% year-over-year in the second quarter. "The momentum we have is remarkable," Murray says. "We're talking about way smaller numbers than Cisco would be of course. But six quarters of doing this is impressive. And we're on track to do it again this quarter."

Big Switch also introduced two upgrades to its products, the Big Cloud Fabric and Big Monitoring Fabric.

Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 unifies physical and virtual switching fabric for Open Stack, Murray says. Previously, Big Cloud Fabric's Switch Light software ran on bare-metal hardware switches for Layer 2 and Layer 3 SDN networking, and the software will now run on virtual OpenStack networks as well, through Switch Light VX software that runs on virtual networks. The fabric, which includes hardware and software, is priced from $49,000.


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Big Cloud Fabric also provides deeper VMware integration, and is demoing support for Docker, which will roll out over the next 12-18 months, Murray says.

VMware is adding support for 100Gbit/s networks to its Big Monitoring Fabric, as well as introducing a feature it calls "service nodes."

"The basic way to look at the service node is that today, everything we do is on a bare metal switch built off Broadcom silicon," Murray says. "But there are features that aren't available with Broadcom silicon, such as time stamping and de-duplication. Now we have a service node that gets added to the fabric and works seamlessly with the Big Monitoring Fabric, for those features. It's an X86 appliance built with the Intel Data Plane Development Kit."

A recently completed study by ACG Research found significant advantages to Big Cloud Fabric compared with the present mode of operation for data centers, Big Switch says. "Big Cloud Fabric is 67% faster to install, accelerates new application deployment by 75%, is 4x more efficient in diagnosing and troubleshooting network issues, and lowers overall cost of operations -- both capex and opex -- by 40%," Big Switch writes in a statement.

— 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 [email protected]

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