Pluribus announced this morning that its Netvisor software has been ported to a Supermicro’s MicroBlade platform — meaning Pluribus can act as the switching infrastructure within a chassis and between chassis.
Until now, Pluribus’ software was available only on the company’s own hardware, the Freedom series of server-switches, as Pluribus calls them. That gave the startup a de facto entry into top-of-rack switching, but it has a lot of potential beyond that market. Pluribus has one CPU running compute functions and controlling a switch chip, which creates potential for housing a variety of services on a switch — or for doing more networking out of a server.
The Supermicro deal “protects us from what we’re seeing with respect to commodity pricing in the top-of-rack,” says David Ginsburg, chief marketing officer.
The partnership also “allows us to start sharing differentiation not only as a hardware combination, but as a software vendor,” Ginsburg says. That might be an important point. The simplest way to describe Pluribus is in hardware terms — a switch wedded to a server — but Pluribus is a software company and wants to become better known for the capabilities its software allows.
MicroBlade is Intel‘s architecture for a box 6 rack units tall that houses 112 processors — the Atom variety, meaning they’re small. The design has four switching blades populated by Intel Alta switch chips; those will now run Pluribus’ Netvisor as their operating system.
Netvisor controls an entire fabric as if it were one switch. That allows for more specific visibility into what the network is doing. It can be easier to tell where and when flows begin and end, for instance. This management can extend across multiple racks, so that groups of Supermicro’s MicroBlades could be managed from a single point.
The Pluribus-infused version of Supermicro’s MicroBlades is due to be available by the end of June.