Big Switch Networks was a cloud and data center networking company. The company was founded by Kyle Forster and Guido Appenzeller in 2010 and has roots in the original Stanford research team that invented software defined networking (SDN). The company was acquired by Arista Networks in February of 2020.
Big Switch has two products, both continuing with Arista: Big Monitoring Fabric, a network packet broker (NPB) fabric, which enables security and monitoring of data center and cloud traffic as well as provide capacity and security insights to that traffic by leveraging Big Monitoring Analytics Node and Recorder Node. Big Cloud Fabric is a leaf-spine data center switching fabric for VMware SDDC, Nutanix, Openstack and container use cases. Big Switch software runs on open Ethernet networking switches from Accton Edgecore, Dell EMC, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and leverage centralized software defined networking controller software for fabric-wide control and management.
Douglas Murray, a former Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems executive, joined the company as CEO in 2013 as the company went through a significant pivot following VMware's acquisition of Nicira. Investors in the company included: Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Silver Lake Partners, MSD Capital, Goldman Sachs, and Intel Capital. The company raised over $120M in funding.
In 2013 the company released its first commercial product, Big Monitoring Fabric and in 2014 the company released Big Cloud Fabric. Customers include: Verizon, Intuit, Clemson, U2 Cloud. Big Switch was headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.
Switch Light OS: An operating system for open network Ethernet switches based on Open Network Linux (ONL), an open-source effort within the Open Compute Project.
Switch Light vSwitch: A user-space software module for KVM-based virtual switches that adds enhanced functionality and improved performance on top of the Open vSwitch kernel.
Big Monitoring Fabric: Big Monitoring Fabric is a visibility and security monitoring solution. It uses high-performance, open Ethernet switches, and a controller-based SDN architecture to enable network-wide monitoring and inline tool chaining in the DMZ. It also has a DPDK-based Service Node appliance that connects to the Big Monitoring Fabric as a service to provide an up to layer 4 network packet broker functions such as packet de-duplication, packet slicing, regular matching, and NetFlow generation. Big Monitoring Fabric also includes Analytics Node and Recorder Node for rich network visibility.
Big Cloud Fabric: Big Cloud Fabric is an SDN controller-based data center switching fabric. It supports all workloads (physical, virtual machine, and container) and choice of orchestration software (VMware, OpenStack). It provides L2 switching, L3 routing, and L4-7 service insertion and chaining. The scalable fabric is fully resilient, with no single point of failure, and supports headless mode operations. Big Cloud Fabric is available in two editions:
P Fabric — Leaf-spine physical Clos fabric controlled via SDN Controller
P+V Fabric — Leaf-spine physical Clos fabric plus virtual switches controlled by SDN Controller
Big Switch sponsors and participates in the following open source projects:
Open Network Linux, a base Linux environment available for Open Compute Project switching platforms
Big Switch Networks is a founding member of ONIE (Open Network Install Environment), which was contributed to Open Compute Project.