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Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) is a booming data center technology and Big Switch Networks wants in. The open networking company added support for HCI and software-defined storage (SDS) to its data center switching fabric. Big Cloud Fabric now integrates with HCI and SDS products from Nutanix, VMware, Dell EMC, and Red Hat.

HCI systems combine core storage and compute functionality into a single, highly virtualized platform. A key characteristic that differentiates these products from other integrated systems is their scale-out architecture and their ability to provide all compute and storage functions through commodity hardware.

“Bringing our automated networking to several of the leading hyperconverged storage solutions really completes the picture of software-defined data centers,” said Gregg Holzrichter, VP of marketing and chief marketing officer at Big Switch. “Hyperconverged systems really focus mostly on compute and storage, and networking is treated as an afterthought. But as these systems become more and more popular, and companies are deploying not just three and four nodes, but 10, 20, 50 nodes, networking becomes very important.”

This is where Big Switch’s technology fits in. Big Cloud Fabric automates the provisioning of network resources by integrating with HCI orchestration systems. It also gives network teams full visibility into these HCI environments, Holzrichter said.

HCI Integrations

The company started integrating with HCI systems about six months ago, first with VMware and then with Dell EMC and Nutanix.

For example, Tianjin Broadcast and TV Network, a state-owned company that operates all the cable TV networks in Tianjin, China, deployed Big Cloud Fabric with VMware vSAN and Dell Open Networking hardware.

Big Cloud Fabric was easier and faster to deploy, compared to the company’s prior data center networking products, and provided ongoing operational efficiencies, said Jia Zhen, IT Manager, Tianjin Broadcast and TV Network, in a statement. “Additionally, we have experienced zero network configuration errors since deploying the solution.”

In another HCI example, the Incheon “smart city” in South Korea deployed Big Cloud Fabric with Nutanix Enterprise Cloud software and Dell EMC hardware for its software-defined data center (SDDC). This allows the smart city to cut nearly $10 million in costs associated with platform building and integration and to save more than 60 percent of data center space, according to Big Switch.

Big Cloud Fabric is a validated Nutanix Ready Core networking product. Additionally, Big Switch and Dell EMC built a validated reference architecture for a VMware SDDC.

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