Looking to simplify what it calls the complexity associated with current Software Defined Networking controllers and proprietary protocols that require significant changes to customer network architecture and operations, Pluribus has refreshed and expanded its own SDN offering to address those challenges.
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Customers looking to SDN to change and improve legacy network constraints have found many times that the SDN implementation has been nothing short of complex, and includes its own hardware-bound problems, said Steven Shalita, vice president of marketing and business development at Pluribus Networks.
Some of the earlier SDN products were based on Open Switches, while older vendors took a proprietary ASIC-based approach with proprietary protocols that limited the deployments. But the one thing they all had in common is that they required a controller which limited SDN success.
Pluribus aims to capitalize on those challenges by replacing its own SDN software – known as Virtualization-Centric Fabric (VCF) with the introduction of Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric, which is built on a fresh version of its Netvisor Network Operating System.
Netvisor is a virtualized NOS that provides layer 2 and layer 3 networking, distributed fabric intelligence and virtualizes the switch hardware, similar to how VMware virtualizes a bare metal server, Pluribus stated. The Pluribus Netvisor software runs on Open Compute Project (OCP), and Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) hardware compliant switches, including devices from Dell EMC, Edgecore, and Pluribus’ Freedom series network switches.
“We are doing for network virtualization what VMware did for server virtualization,” Shalita stated.
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A collection of switches running the Netvisor software, typically in a leaf/spine pod, form the Fabric that appears as a logical switch to third-party controllers like Openstack/ODL etc. via Fabric-wide REST API or per-tenant Neutron/OVSDB plugins.
Netvisor has been shipping since 2013, and VCF since 2015.
According to Pluribus, the Adaptive Cloud Fabric operates without a controller and can be deployed across a single data center, or targeted to specific racks, pods, server farms, or Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, such as Nutanix, vSAN and VxRail.
Multiple geographically distributed data centers can be interconnected into a fabric over any WAN or dark fiber to optimize performance and resource availability, improve resiliency and support disaster recovery without special protocols or reengineering, the company said.
Key features of the Adaptive Cloud Fabric include:
- Runs on OPEN switches with off-the-shelf chips like Broadcom Trident/Trident2/Tomahawk, Intel, and other newer chips that are coming online
- Fully distributed, peer-to-peer control plane with high availability and sub-second convergence for scale and resiliency
- Abstraction of the underlying switch/port by creating a fabric vPORT that is the virtual endpoint of for Server Virtual Machines (VM), Containers, SR-IOV enabled VMs, Bare Metal, IOT devices, etc.
- Integrated Application Level Analytics without TAPs or mirrors that show every TCP connection including time started/ended, IP addresses and TCP ports of end-points, average latency, bytes in either direction, etc. The data is available in both real time and historical and is stored in memory
- Fully multi-tenant in the form of VNETs which allow each tenant to work with its own Openstack or VMware environment, create server-to-switch tunnels, configure its fabric-wide ports, VLANs, etc.
- Netvisor vPort technology extends intelligence and control to all connected end-points, VMs, containers, and mobile devices across the global fabric. VPort tracks the location, identity, policy, and history for each endpoint, and dynamically shares state status to all member devices in real-time, eliminating network broadcasts.
- The Netvisor OS contains embedded telemetry enabling pervasive visibility across the entire fabric. This allows monitoring at the speed of the network with coverage for all 10, 25, 40 and 100 Gigabit interfaces without dedicated network probes.
For Pluribus the Adaptive Cloud Fabric announcement is tantamount to a re-introduction of the company, originally formed in 2010, which has had some success – it claims more than 100 customers.
“Pluribus is definitely looking to broaden its visibility,” said Jim Duffy a senior analyst at 451 Research. “It is putting much more emphasis on data center and cloud fabric technology in trying to get its full message out there.”
Duffy pointed to Pluribus’ ability to micro-segment ports and virtualize packets via vPort as key features of the new software offering.
The Netvisor version 2.54 software, Adaptive Cloud Fabric, and analytics component are available now. The Netvisor software is licensed as perpetual or subscription on a per-switch basis.