A number of network virtualization companies have stopped by to introduce themselves and brief me on their products. This time Big Switch Networks came by to talk about how software defined networks, a form of network virtualization, is changing how companies are building networks both for their own on-premise use and to facilitate the move to cloud computing. Big Switch is calling their architecture the "Open SDN™ architecture."
Big Switch Networks' Open SDN™ architecture is based on these three pillars:
- Open Standards: Support for networking industry standards, including newer ones like OpenFlow, ensure better integration and interoperability today and in the future between different players within the SDN ecosystem. It allows for smooth deployment of SDN solutions into existing physical and virtual networks and for multi-vendor environments without increasing complexity.
- Open APIs: Open APIs foster the creation of a vibrant ecosystem of infrastructure, networks services and orchestration applications. Solutions delivered by this ecosystem can transform networks into a competitive business advantage by enabling dynamic coordination between networking, compute and storage resources and by providing a tighter alignment with business priorities.
- Open Source: Successes such as Hadoop, MySQL and Linux demonstrate the importance of open source in every major software revolution that has taken place in the past decades. As networking becomes more software-oriented, open source provides complete transparency on the quality of its code while enabling customers to benefit from contributions made by the active open source SDN community and, more importantly, prevents vendor lock-in in the new network landscape.
Big Switch Networks supports open standards like OpenFlow and integrates with open APIs as an OpenStack member. Earlier this year, the company made the core component of its commercial solution available to the open source community with the release of Floodlight, its open source Controller, and it has since been downloaded more than a thousand times.
Making network routing more programmable and sub-networks more dynamic is an important step in creating networks that are as agile of virtual servers and virtual storage.
Big Switch, however faces quite a bit of competition and doesn't have the marketing dollars that some of the others posses. Although the members of the Open Networking Foundation aren't all networking suppliers, there are over 40 members at this time.