This guest post comes from our friends at Big Switch Networks.

As a member of the Big Switch team for the last year, I’m incredibly excited that we are today announcing the general availability of Open Software-Defined Networking architecture, including Big Network Controller, Big Virtual Switch, Big Tap.  Over the past year, we’ve watched SDN mature from a new, “maybe-some-day” technology to a true imperative for anyone looking to deploy a truly flexible, scalable cloud datacenter.

Simultaneously, we’ve tried to keep a somewhat low profile but have been quite busy behind the scenes.  As best I can tell, we’re doing a number of things very differently than everyone else in the SDN ecosystem and, while our choices haven’t exactly freed up our nights and weekends, we’re expecting they will create a lot of value for our customers.  Let me highlight a few key differences:

  • Rather than viewing SDN as a particular point solution, we’ve actually separated the architecture into a platform (ie. Big Network Controller) and applications.  Network Virtualization (Big Virtual Switch) is one of the applications we’ve started with and is a great addition to a CloudStack deployment but Big Switch and its ecosystem partners have a number of other solutions in the pipeline as well.
  • Open standards, open source, and open APIs are baked into the core of everything we build.  We have open sourced the core of our controller platform in a project called Floodlight, used standardized protocols like OpenFlow, and are working with the Open Networking Foundation to create standardized programming APIs.  Again, we found these design principles around openness to directly map to those of the CloudStack community.
  • Finally, we have developed our platform to work with hypervisor switches as well as physical devices in the network.  As folks building clouds on CloudStack can certainly tell you, managing overlay networks and physical networks separately creates an added burden and limits the scale and flexibility of the overall solution.  What is really needed is  a single platform that can work across the physical and virtual networking domains.

Since the very early days of our company, we’ve been working closely with the Citrix team and the open source communities for both Xen and CloudStack.  An SDN solution, particularly one that supports network virtualization, must be integrated into both into the hypervisor and cloud orchestration platform and we clearly recognize Xen and CloudStack as two of the most mature and sophisticated pieces of open source cloud infrastructure available today.

Today, we’re happy to announce that both Big Network Controller and Big Virtual Switch are Citrix Ready certified on the XenServer and expect to be there with CloudPlatform early next year.    Big Virtual Switch (BVS) allows cloud administrators to dynamically provision virtual networks, which can be coupled with XenServer and CloudPlatform to offer flexible, agile, and highly scalable cloud infrastructure.  This joint solution is really exciting for us and we’ve been hearing great feedback on it from our customers so far.  We designed BVS to allow users to take full advantage of their clouds by eliminating network constraints and manual configurations and we’re excited to bring these capabilities to Citrix customers and the broader Apache community.

If you’d like to learn more about our solution, check out this video and visit us at

— Mike Cohen, Director of Strategic Alliances at Big Switch Networks