When the CleanSafeCloud team began evaluating the various approaches to SDN, they were initially interested in white-box switching, particularly switches that ran on Linux-based networking software.
The cost savings inherent in the model were attractive and they favored any approach that would keep the threat of vendor lock-in at bay. In addition, they were looking for a solution that allowed them to quickly bring up their data center networking infrastructure and then manage it as simply as possible.
They considered Big Switch's Big Cloud Fabric (BCF), the industry's first Open Ethernet SDN data center fabric bringing hyperscale data center design principles to cloud environments. CleanSafeCloud also selected 10G and 40G Open Network switches from Edgecore Networks. With Big Switch, they were not only impressed with in the CapEx savings, but also the operational efficiencies achieved through a single pane of glass management. Big Switch ultimately won the deal—in part because of the BCF starter kit, which CleanSafeCloud used to build its initial production network.
The Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) Architecture - Software Defined Networking (SDN) fabric architecture refers to a separation of the network's data and control plane, followed by a centralization of the control plane functionality. In practice, the network's policy plane, management plane and much of control plane are externalized from the hardware device itself, using an SDN controller, with few on-device off-load functions for scale and resiliency. The network state is centralized but hierarchically implemented, instead of being fully distributed on a box-by-box basis across access and aggregation switches.
Controller-based designs, like BCF, not only bring agility via centralized programmability and automation, but they also streamline fabric designs (e.g. leaf-spine L2/L3 Clos).
Big Cloud Fabric also supports both physical and virtual (multi-hypervisor) workloads and choice of orchestration software, including full integration with OpenStack. BCF provides L2 switching, L3 routing and, L4-7 service insertion and chaining while ensuring high bisectional bandwidth. The scalable fabric is fully resilient with no single point of failure and supports head-less mode operations.
Big Cloud Fabric Starter Kits made getting started easy. Starter kits include the switching hardware, software, support and (in some kits) cables. Deployment guides are available for use as a general L2/L3 data center fabric or as an integrated networking system for OpenStack cloud deployments. With Big Cloud Fabric’s Zero Touch Fabric technology and streamlined configuration, a fully functional leaf/spine network can be up and running in minutes.
The starter kit that CleanSafeCloud uses is designed for a production environment, not a lab. The specific kit included four leaf and two spine bare-metal switches from Edgecore Networks, redundant controllers, a three-year Big Cloud Fabric software license, three years of hardware/software support and 40 Gigabit Ethernet leaf-spine cables. The setup comprises two racks of gear, which translates into support for about 2,000 virtual machines on modern servers. Big Switch also sells a single-rack starter kit, geared more toward lab environments; that kit has less redundancy, and it has a one-year support contract and software license.
TAKE ME TO DATA CENTER SWITCHES FROM EDGECORE