Big Switch Networks will help enterprises set up virtual private clouds (VPCs) in their on-premises data centers, modeling the VPCs they use in the big public clouds. Big Switch is doing this to make it easy for enterprises to adopt hybrid cloud.
When businesses set up their accounts with the major public cloud providers, they create VPCs. For Amazon Web Services (AWS) it’s called AWS VPC; for Microsoft it’s Azure vNet; and for Google it’s Google Cloud Platform VPC.
Today, Big Switch announced its intention to bring “VPC everywhere” to accelerate hybrid cloud adoption.
Kyle Forster, founder of Big Switch Networks, said the company wants to take the best of cloud networking and bring that on premises. It’s starting with VPC because “It’s the single biggest configuration that everything else hangs off of,” said Forster. “I think we’re the only ones taking this first step. We think it’s the fastest path to hybrid cloud.”
Big Switch’s technology is based on software-defined networking (SDN). Its VPC for on-premises is a logical Layer 2/Layer 3 network that users provision on top of the cloud. “The model is really well-thought-through for an as-a-service cloud culture,” said Forster.
Hybrid Cloud Approaches
The “hybrid-cloud” topic has been hot for the past year. And different vendors are taking various approaches. Both Cisco and Arista have announced hybrid cloud strategies to bridge their on-premises environments to public clouds. In August 2017, Cisco said it was making it easier for its customers that use its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) in their private data centers to connect that infrastructure to public clouds.
In cloud-native circles, Cisco’s approach has been disparaged as a virtual hardware (vHardware) tactic, where engineers use the same CLIs for both their on-premises and cloud workloads.
There are also rumors that AWS may sell white box switches to enterprise customers, making their on-premises environment look like AWS’ public cloud environment. This would make it easy to move workloads back and forth.
Forster doesn’t think AWS will build a commercial white box switch to compete with traditional switch vendors. But he does think there’s a good chance AWS will build a white box appliance to connect private data centers with the public cloud. Asked how this might affect Big Switch’s VPC plans, Forster said, “If AWS were to build a DirectConnect appliance using white box switch hardware, it would fill a nice hole in the market, and we’d connect to it for automation using our controllers — same thing we do with all of their other APIs.”
Big Switch says it VPCs on-prem provide consistent IT governance between private data centers and in any public cloud. Additionally, application placement is not constrained by networking or compliance but instead is based on application needs such as latency, bandwidth, data locality, or cost.
The company’s enterprise VPC is the first step in its new Cloud First portfolio. Over the next six months it plans to announce three new products to support hybrid cloud.