The add-ons are part of Big Cloud Fabric 4.0, which is available as of today, and they’re meant to further tie Big Switch’s network virtualization to the concept of the software-defined data center (SDDC).
Big Switch introduced Docker integration with Big Cloud Fabric 3.0 in 2015. The release of BCF 4.0 is moving the company more deeply into container orchestration and networking, supporting the Kubernetes, Mesosphere DC/OS, and Red Hat OpenShift orchestration platforms.
The idea is that Big Switch’s software, being aware of the physical network, can add automation and visibility to those tools. In the latter case, BCF would show an operator which physical switches and ports are involved in the networking of containers.
BCF 4.0 also introduces the Container Orchestration Agent, which provides the networking for containers as they are created and also prunes those virtual connections when the containers vanish.
The new software also supports what Big Switch is calling vPods, isolated environments for different types of containers or virtual machines. The idea is that the fabric will support multiple orchestrators at once so that Kubernetes could be spinning up containers while vSphere works with virtual machines. A vPod would be one group of servers dedicated to one of these environments.
The vPod environments don’t have to be heterogeneous. Desktop-hosting provider U2 Cloud is using the technology to support 20 separate vCenter instances on one fabric, says Gregg Holzrichter, Big Switch’s chief marketing officer.
Separately, Big Switch is deepening its relationship with VMware by adding features to help vSAN, VMware’s take on hyperconverged infrastructure. For example, BCF can now set up multicasting in vSAN, something that’s become an issue as vSAN deployments grow larger. “You get east-west traffic, and multicasting starts to become tricky” as the number of vSAN nodes grows, Holzrichter says.