Specifically, the company has added VXLAN support to its Virtualization-Centric Fabric (VCF) software. That means customers can use VXLAN to create Layer 2 tunnels between endpoints, and VCF is able to report on the state of the traffic traversing those tunnels.
Pluribus is showing off its new trick at the Open Networking User Group meeting being held this week in New York.
VXLAN is more often discussed as a data center technology, a way for creating temporary network overlays between two servers. Pluribus is using VXLAN for that same use case; it’s just that the servers in question would be in different data centers. VXLAN would create the connection making it look like the two endpoints were in the same location.
“We’ve had other mechanisms that can span Layer 2 across our fabric, but we haven’t implemented the VXLAN RFC [request for comments, the IETF version of a standard] before,” says Mark Harris, Pluribus’ vice president of marketing.
One early customer is using the DCI capability to pool the resources of multiple data centers in one region, for instance. The network behaves as if all these locations were combined into one data center.
“There are some performance changes you have to take into account” due to the distance between data centers, Harris says. “But it’s not like 10 years ago, when you gritted your teeth when you had to use a resource that wasn’t local.”
A virtualized fabric has always been central to Pluribus’ technology, but the company first started out as a hardware play, offering switches that combined compute and networking resources. The startup, which raised a $50 million Series D nearly two years ago, is now a pure software play, aided by partnerships with Dell and Ericsson; the latter is also an investor.
“Sunay and the rest of the founders created what we now call VCF, and that architectural approach to handling ‘SDN‘ turned out to be our secret sauce,” Harris says.
Pluribus does get involved in deals where its software, installed on white box switches, gets used in place of a top-of-rack switch. But Harris says the company is also finding niches in specific applications, such as analytics. CTO Sunay Tripathi told SDxCentral recently that one large bank is using Pluribus’ software solely for the analytics capabilities. (He wouldn’t name the customer, but the Wells Fargo logo is in plain sight on at least one Pluribus presentation.)
Even so, some enterprise customers are still struggling to grasp the white-box concept, Harris said.
“There’s no reference point. They’ve never thought about buying a switch that, when it shows up on the UPS truck, doesn’t do anything,” he said.