Big Switch adds NSX-v support to fabric controller

Getting NSX talking to the PHY layer

Big Switch Networks (BSN) is getting cosier with VMware by adding virtzilla's NSX virtualisation to its Big Cloud Fabric.

NSX virtualises the network into a vSwitch-based SDN overlay, but sysadmins still have to deal with the underlying physical network, and that's where Big Switch reckons it can help.

The new release of Big Cloud Fabric – 2.6 – makes NSX-linked virtual machines and Virtual Tunnel End Point (VTEP) hosts visible to the controller. That, the company says, makes it easy to troubleshoot connections between VTEPs across the end-to-end physical connection.

There's also new analytics for NSX-v virtual machines.

It's an effort to close what the company sees as “visibility gap” that irritates admins trying to keep the network underlay humming.

Big Switch SDN veep Prashant Gandhi said in a virtualised environment, devices have to talk directly to (for example) VMware via API calls. Managing the network that way becomes a bottleneck: “any interaction with external orchestration remains box-by-box,” he told The Register.

With the integration announced in BCF 2.6, “the controller becomes the single point of API interactions”.

That's a more scalable model, the company claims, since it lets a sysadmin run multiple boxes with a single interaction.

There's also visibility from the fabric controller to the virtual environment, Gandhi said, which allows the physical fabric to follow rules set by the vCenter management environment.

“If you add a new server to the environment”, he explained, “and it's connected to the top-of-rack switch, there's no need to configure that switch.

“As soon as the server is connected, the controller recognises the server and programs the links to it's admitted to the fabric.”

VMs are given the same level of automation: “Any time a VM is connected, we program the switches in the fabric to assign it a Layer 2 network”.

That alleviates the need to program VLANs across multiple switches to cope with the presence of a new VM, he said, and “when the VM moves, we create the network connections from the destination rack”.

Big Switch Networks' canned announcement is here. ®

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