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Big Switch frees up its SDN

Jim Duffy | Jan. 27, 2016
Base fabric software to be offered at no cost as inducement for commercial products.

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Big Switch Networks this week is seeking to build on its success by making its products free.

The SDN company is rolling out a free editions of its Big Monitoring and Big Cloud fabric software as an inducement to upgrade to the beefier – and commercial – versions. Big Switch is also unveiling new releases of the pay versions of the products designed to support 100G Ethernet, enhance VMware and OpenStack integration, and improve scale.

Big Switch just landed a $48.5 million Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to $94 million since its founding in 2010. The company also added two industry luminaries to its board and says it is growing 300% annually, closing multiple deals in excess of $1 million.

Will a free version of $25,000 worth of its software keep that momentum going? Big Switch believes so.

The so-called Community Edition of Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric is a perpetual license of a base configuration of the products that can be downloaded for use in lab and development environments. Community Edition is intended to provide potential customers with the opportunity to experiment with and evaluate SDN fabrics and open networking switches.

“This is to get into the commercial version of both products,” says Big Switch CEO Doug Murray. “It’s a way to seed the ecosystem.”

Murray says the free and enhanced commercial software is intended to facilitate hardware and software disaggregation, which he says is an alternative to a tightly integrated hardware and software SDN offering like Cisco's Application Centric Infrastructure.

The Community Edition of Big Monitoring Fabric includes software for one switch and VM controller pair. The Community Edition of Big Cloud Fabric includes software for one leaf switch pair and VM controller pair.

Community Edition software runs on specific hardware listed on Big Switch’s website. Big Switch says it also provides optional on-line purchase of compatible switches and cables.

The commercial version of Big Monitoring Fabric includes a new release, 5.5, that supports inline security service chaining, an Intel Data Plane Development Kit x86 service node for advanced network services, and 100G Ethernet. The service node capability is a hardware appliance with 4x10G bidirectional interfaces that supports de-duplication, packet slicing and pattern matching services.

Inline security service chaining is intended to simplify, via policies, deployment and change management of multiple DMZ/Extranet security tools. It includes custom messages for tool health and sub-second health checks.

Big Monitoring Fabric 5.5 also includes analytical tools such as an sFlow Collector, historical time series, and DHCP/DNS/ICMP trackers. The 100G switches it supports are 32-port Dell Z9100-ON and Accton AS7712-32X platforms.

 

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