US bare-metal startup Pluribus Networks is starting to close the kimono somewhat. Not that it's flipping the switch to proprietary hardware, but it is expanding the capabilities for formerly bare-metal switches to make them more enterprise-friendly, by shipping them with its own OS installed.
According to the company's CMO Dave Ginsburg, who spoke to The Register about the launch, pure-play bare-metal data centre switches fit best with the kinds of hyperscale data centres – think Facebook or Google – who know exactly the capabilities they want and have the capability to run the install and configuration.
Such outfits would also have their own standard network OS and switch environment they want to load onto the metal, one reason that the bare-metal market is becoming so important.
Ginsburg told El Reg that the enterprise customer wants something more pre-configured – what Gartner is calling the “bright box” segment.
Targeting customers that are “looking for bare-metal economics”, but with more support from a larger entity.
Hence the company's E28Q, a 40 Gbps Ethernet network computing appliance, a Broadcom-powered unit which carries Pluribus' latest-version Netvisor 2.2 OS.
Netvisor includes stuff like active-active virtual link aggregation groups, rapid spanning tree protocol support, and the virtual router redundancy protocol. For manageability, there's vPort which allows the manager to track the attributes of a port across the fabric, and there's the vManage GUI for visualising fabric services.
The OS adds various integration and automation features to OpenStack, and vFlow to let customers program application flows across multiple switches in a fabric.
This kind of pre-integration, Ginsburg said, “is more palatable to the IT shop. It's like a bare-metal-plus approach, the bare-metal economics with something beyond it.”
The switch also has PCIe slots for high speed flash storage, and since the switch is running Linux, it can run virtual appliances from other vendors (for example, as a virtual firewall). ®