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Big Switch Brings Freemium to SDN with Community Edition

By David Delony February 04, 2016

Big Switch Networks has announced that it’s applying the “freemium” business model to data center networking with its Community Edition.

Big Switch Community Edition is a suite valued at over $25,000 that contains a simplified version of its networking software with a license for one switch and one virtual machine controller pair and software for one leaf pair and one leaf pair and one VM controller pair.

The idea is to let customers kick the tires on an SDN implementation before scaling up to a full production version.

"Community Edition is the networking industry's first software-style freemium model, so a broader set of users can experience the simplicity and economics of SDN fabrics and open networking switches," Prashant Gandhi, vice president of product management and strategy at Big Switch, said. "With free Big Switch Labs, free Community Editions and low-cost Starter Kits, mainstream enterprises and service providers can adopt hyperscale-inspired networking software risk-free."

It’s still necessary to purchase compatible hardware separately, even if the software itself is free.

The freemium model has been well-established in the tech world. Dropbox users can stick with the free version but opt for more expensive plans if they need more cloud storage, but will this model extend to SDN?

The Community Edition, due to its free and open source nature, will allow people to experiment with Big Switch and SDN outside of enterprise settings. As a new generation of students and hobbyists learns the ropes of SDN, Big Switch is betting that when it comes time to recommend SDN vendors to enterprise companies, these people will pick Big Switch.

This is exactly how the open source Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP (LAMP) stack became ubiquitous for web hosting.

Big Switch is not just offering a freemium model, but has also announced major upgrades to its products with Big Monitoring Fabric 5.5, which is included in the Community Edition. Some of the new features include deduplication, packet slicing and the ability to inspect packets with regular expressions, a kind of super-precise text searching that can match patterns down to individual characters.

Big Cloud Fabric 3.5 can interface with VMware and OpenStack.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

Contributing Writer

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