Dell EMC Networking and Pluribus ONVL + Adaptive Cloud Fabric – Primer

Pluribus has a strong presence, with multiple solutions, within the SDN Ecosystem of Dell EMC.

Its fabric solution is known as Adaptive Cloud Fabric – A Controller-less SDN solution running on bare metal switches. Pluribus has a very strong suite of features around Analytics, DCI, virtual wire etc.


Its NOS solution – Netvisor, is based on Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux Distribution. The fabric spans all the switches, and across DCs if needed. Each switch runs an instance of a proprietary distributed database clustering software.

Insight Analytics platform is another area where the Pluribus Solution stands out. Each switch behaves like an intelligent sniffer, providing Telemetry, Deep visibility and Analytics. No separate software, or license is required. It would still require the UNUM/Analytics Server to interpret the data, but the appliance is only needed if that functionality is desired. No taps, tools or broker fabrics are needed. The Analytics capability is “built-in”.

The following is an overview of the Pluribus Cloud Fabric Solution.  I use the following bullet points to anchor and mould my introductory Pluribus presentations, as need dictates. Subsequent posts will take a look at the ACF + ONVL in a lot more detail.

Where does Pluribus fit in the SDN Landscape

  • Brite Box: Integrating Dell EMC’s Global footprint, supply chain, 24×7 support model.
  • Controller-less SDN Model:
    • No Centralized or External Controller.
  • SDN Fabric – One Scale out Fabric
    1. Software based, fully distributed controller
    2. Server-style Peer-to-Peer Cluster of Switches.
    3. Fabric is One Programmable Switch.
  • Standards based
    • Interoperable – No proprietary HW/protocols.
    • Any Topology: CloS/Spine & Leaf, 2 unit Fat-Tree/Multi-tier.
  • Management Plane
    • Single fabric wide CLI/API to manage all nodes from any switch.
    • Presents single logical switch/node (Management Ease).
    • Open APIs support popular tools such as Ansible or Python
  • Control Plane: Distributed, traditional L2/L3 protocols
  • Data Plane: No Master, all Local Switching (optimized east-west)

Dell EMC Networking + Pluribus [ONVL+ACF+UNUM] Features

  • Unique SDN Prop – Closer to traditional Fabric
    • Ease of management of a centralized controller architecture, with scalability and high availability of a fully distributed architecture with no single point of failure.
  • Tap free inline Analytics/Integrated Telemetry:
    • No Taps, Brokers, no agents – each switch is a sniffer
  • vPorts
    • Fabric wide, software based distributed database of end points.
    • State maintained across fabric.
  • DCI: Industry’s Only Multi-site, Controller-less Fabric Solution with L2 Extension across 2+ sites.
    • Unified Management, Centralized Provisioning/Visibility
    • Tunnel HA
  • VMWare Integration
    • VMAware – vCenter (VM/ESXi) object metadata integrated into the db.
    • Virtual netVisor (NVM) for VMWare connection visibility/Analytics – VM to VM, even on the same host (license needed). Via vProbe.
  • Nutanix Integration
    • Network Auto-provisioning of VMs (Acropolis)
    • Visibility & Fabric analytics with end to end latency, throughput etc.
  • Container-based multitenancy – vRouting, vNET

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