Big Switch – Cloud Fabric integration with VMWare vSphere – Part 2

This post is a followup to the part 1 of BCF/vSPhere integration.

Let us have a quick look at the per step/per tier automation this integration enables, starting from the End points..

  • BCF Controller interconnection with vCenter: 
    • Configuring vCenter in BCF is straight forward, requiring the nomination of the tenant, ip address and authentication parameters.
    • The controller acts a single point of integration with vCenter through a vCenter extension developed using vCenter APIs.
    • Deploying the BCF plugin within vCenter is equally straight forward, requiring a simple CLI command on the BCF Controller CLI: deploy vsphere gui-plugin vcenter-name vcenter-user
    • After the two are connected, the controller downloads the vCenter inventory information and automatically provisions each switch in BCF to support the existing inventory.
    • Once the baseline vCenter configuration is established, the controller is automatically updated by inventory updates from vCenter, which the controller takes as input to auto configure/update the fabric switches.

Controler Tier


  • Compute/Server to ToR Leaf Switch Pair:
    • Building LAG groups & discovering endpointsOnce LLDP/CDP is configured in vCenter, BCF automatically discovers ESXi hosts connected to leaf switches.
      • BCF listens for LLDP advertisements to learn the physical leaf switch attachment points of a vSphere Port Group
      • The controller automatically constructs LAGs in the physical switch fabric through LLDP/CDP from virtual switches in ESXi hosts.
      • ESXi Servers connect to ToR switches via LAGs. To utilize Load balancing & failover, use vCenter NIC teaming.
    • VLAN/L2 Segment creation & VM Provision
      • When vCenter creates, modifies or deletes virtual switch port-groups, BCF Controller gets updated and performs corresponding operation to facilitate L2 VLANs/Segments.
    • vMotion/VM Relocation
      • When a VM is moved as part of vMotion, BCF controller is updated with the new location – and consequently migrates the network policies dynamically and updates the forwarding tables

ToR Tier


  • ToR Leaf Switch Pair to Spine Switches: 
    • BCF demands a topology lockin – Leaf & Spine. The Clos fabric has the following characteristics: Efficient horizontal scaling
      • Path resilience
      • Deterministic traffic flows
      • Predictable latency and jitter.
      • Greatly shrunken Failure Domain vs. 2 unit Fat-Tree/Multi-tier Core
    • The Spine/Leaf fabric Formation is Automated. During the initial Config, BCF Controller has to be advised of the following, after which the Clos fabric is activated.
      • Switch names
      • Switch MAC
      • Switch Role
      • If the role is that of a Leaf switch, assign it to the ToR pair/group it belongs to.
      • Define LAG groups, with respective members.
    • Complete the respective Tenant & Service Chaining Configuration, as needed.

Clos Tier

Within the BCG Gui, the Controller view of the vCenter integration looks like the following:

BCF Controller view - vSphere

and the following captures the BCF plugin within vCenter:

vSphere BCF Plugin

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