Big Switch Networks has announced a significant expansion of their partnership with Nutanix. It sees the Big Switch Big Cloud Fabric [BCF] receive Nutanix Ready Acropolis Hypervisor [AHV] Integration designation, which will provide network automation with the Nutanix Prism management software in private clouds. This expands Big Switch’s presence further in the hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] space, and provides a new networking option for Nutanix partners and customers. The companies have also collaborated on a Nutanix Ready Interconnect Fabric Bundle. This joint solution will be provided through a meet-in-the-channel model, where the partner obtains the different components separately from Nutanix and Big Switch distributors.
“We believe this is going to be a very interesting opportunity for us,” said Susheel Chitre, VP of Business Development at Big Switch Networks. “We have already seen proof points that Nutanix resonates with our customers and channel partners. They view this networking bundle and value proposition as an opportunity to sell networking where they haven’t before, because it takes away a pain point from the customer base.”
While Big Switch also partners with other HCI vendors, Chitre said that the Nutanix partnership and integration are both on a deeper level.
“We are a long-time VMware partner, and we work with any and all HCI players,” Chitre said. “There is a level of difference with the Nutanix integration, however. It will allow the Nutanix admin to do a lot of the integration seamlessly through Prism. This integration has led to very specific optimizations for Nutanix with Prism. We have something similar with vSAN, but with Nutanix, there is a very specific level of integration. This integration work makes sure that the networking piece is almost transparent.”
Big Switch is a member of Nutanix’s Elevate Technology Partner Program. Nutanix, in turn, is a Big Switch customer. Nutanix IT, which is one of the largest Nutanix deployments in the world, leverages the BCF to power its internal infrastructure. The Big Switch solution is multi-tenanted, highly automated, extremely scalable and cost-effective, all of which were Nutanix prequisities for this partnership.
The BCF Controller’s integration with Prism provides automatic bootstrapping of Nutanix AHV hosts, automatic AHV host detection and fabric admission, automated L2 networking for Nutanix AHV E-VPC logical networking, and automated distributed logical routing. The BCF Nutanix Prism provides full visibility of the Nutanix E-VPC, based on data provided by Prism to BCF, and VM-to-VM traffic visibility for a Nutanix E-VPC across the entire leaf-spine fabric can be visually displayed on the BCF controller, to facilitate troubleshooting.
“The solution bundle has been blessed by Nutanix, and because of that we will be working with them on this in field engagements and through channel partners,” Chitre noted. “The bundle makes it easy for partners to order, install and configure the joint solution.”
The bundle is flexible enough to accommodate both midmarket and enterprise deployments.
“There is an opportunity for us to span the gamut of enterprise customers and midmarket customers with this,” Chitre said. “We have several large enterprise customers for it. However, we see it as a strong midmarket opportunity because it supports Nutanix 3-node boxes, which apply to midmarket and enterprise branch deployments. It’s not aimed at any specific use case, but more broadly, at any place the customer is looking to deploy Nutanix HCI, and in the midmarket in particular.”
It’s a meet in the channel go-to-market, with separate Nutanix and networking pieces.
“The channel partner will go to the Nutanix distributor and buy Nutanix boxes, and then go to our distributor, EPS Global, and get Big Switch packaged as single SKU switches, and it’s then shipped either to the partner or directly to the customer,” Chitre indicated.
EPS Global, the Big Switch distributor who handles the networking distribution on their behalf, is not a Nutanix distributor, resulting in this arrangement.
“We can put the solution together on behalf of Big Switch resellers,” said Alan Fagan, Director of Sales North America at EPS Global. “Our goal is to make it easy for resellers with this bundle. There is also special pricing.”
While EPS Global purely handles the networking component of the deal, they expect that the Big Switch-Nutanix partnership will result in some Nutanix partners working with them regularly for their networking requirements.
“While the Nutanix relationship is new to us, we expect that it will resulting in us adding incremental resellers,” Fagan noted.