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Big Switch Networks launches OpenFlow development tool plug in

As organizations deploy virtualized applications and systems, networking and storage must keep up. One of the trends in this area is the adoption of software defined networking. Big Switch Networks wants to help developers use this new technology.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Big Switch Networks just launched a tool to allow OpenStack developers to more easily use open software defined networking tools to deployment of agile networking.  The company's Floodlight, an open source OpenFlow controller, can be plugged into OpenStack environments. This will allow developers to create and manage virtual networks using by hypervisor-based and physical OpenFlow switches.

What Big Switch has to say about Floodlight

Marking the next step in the evolution of the industry’s first open-standards based approach to software-enabled next-generation networks, Big Switch Networks today announced OpenStack developers can now plug-in to the company’s open source OpenFlow Controller, Floodlight, for programmable networking in multi-tenant cloud and virtualized environments.  Continuing on the movement towards an open software defined networking (SDN) architecture, the new plugin allows OpenStack users to create and manage virtual networks using both hypervisor-based and physical OpenFlow switches controlled by Floodlight.

Developers now have the programmability and vendor independence of OpenFlow on top of the benefits of cloud automation from OpenStack. Floodlight’s OpenStack support relies on Quantum, a network connectivity as a service between interface devices (e.g. vNICs) managed by other OpenStack services. In addition to support for hypervisor-based switches like Open vSwitch, Floodlight brings support for a growing ecosystem of physical OpenFlow switches. Additionally, Floodlight offers an open API platform on which OpenStack-specific SDN applications can be created. Unlike other OpenStack-ready technology currently available, this plugin provides SDN innovators a bridge to OpenStack through an open source controller which works with vSwitched as well as OpenFlow switches on the market.

Released this past January, Floodlight is an Apache-licensed open source OpenFlow controller. OpenFlow controllers are central components of SDN as they capture control information from OpenFlow-enabled switches to centrally manage networks. Floodlight serves the needs of academics, offers a powerful platform to commercial developers to build SDN network services and helps network administrators experience OpenFlow first hand.

There has been growing momentum around SDN, with major infrastructure vendors bringing OpenFlow switches to market, and the OpenStack and Floodlight ecosystems are keeping up pace with technological innovation. Floodlight is now downloaded more than 1200 times per month by a development community spanning four continents, and the OpenStack community includes over 180 companies and over 3000 developers. Floodlight and its corresponding OpenStack plugin are available on the Floodlight website at http://floodlight.openflowhub.org/quantum-and-openstack.

Snapshot analysis

Various forms of virtualization technology have made access, applications, processing and storage more agile. Organizations need to make their networks equally agile. OpenFlow is an attempt to allow the dynamic creation of private virtual networks to support multi-tenent, virtual environments.

I'd urge organizations to explore what suppliers such as Cisco, Juniper, HP, IBM and, yes, Big Switch Networks are doing to bring software, hardware and services based upon OpenFlow into the network.

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