Real World Deployments Using White-box Switching & SDN Controllers


  • Prashant Gandhi, Big Switch Networks
  • Syed Ghayur, Big Switch Networks
  • Gregg Holzrichter, Big Switch Networks
  • Salman Zahid, Big Switch Networks


Over the last decade, architects in the world’s largest data centers have built out networks that have achieved an order of magnitude improvement in operating, performance and cost metrics. They have achieved a massive reduction in capex as result of using commodity, white-box or branded white-box switching hardware. When combined with SDN-centric designs, these deployments have resulted in dramatic improvements in automation, operational simplification, and faster innovation. These benefits are now being realized by enterprises of all sizes via commercially available SDN solutions.

In this presentation, the speakers will go over production-ready solutions for (a) enabling network security and visibility at scale, (b) simplified DMZ tool chaining and operations and (c) VMware software defined data center infrastructure. The tutorial will be divided into three sections and each solution will include of a hands-on lab module.

Attendee Experience Level


Special Requirements

Laptop with Internet Access and Chrome Browser. Each attendee will be given access their private, online hands-on lab. Lab access will be available for 30 days after the live ONUG training.

Student Requirements for Hands On Portion

Attending the ONUG tutorial titled “Introduction to Open Compute Project’s Networking Project: Hardware, Software, and Operations” is recommended.


  • Network Security & Visibility
    • Challenges facing the infrastructure operations teams
    • Modern Network Architectures – Centralized Tool Farms
    • Virtually Extending Tools to Remote / Small Site Monitoring
  • Operating a DMZ Network
    • Security & Operational Considerations
    • High Availability Architectures using White-box Switches
    • Optimal Tool Chaining – Handling Asymmetric Traffic Patterns
    • Science DMZ Use Case – Dealing with Elephant Flows
  • White-box Networking for the Software Defined Data Center
    • Scaleable Clos Fabric Networking Designs for the VMware Data Center
    • Bridging the Virtual to Physical Networking – Enhanced Troubleshooting & Visibility

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1

Understand the security and operational challenges of operating critical networking infrastructure, and associated tools (security, performance, audit, compliance etc. tools). Gain hands-on experience with modern, SDN-centric architectures built using white-box switching infrastructure to optimize existing tools.

Learning Objective 2

Deep dive into the data center networking for VMware and OpenStack clouds – compare and contrast modern Clos-based architectures with legacy frameworks.

Learning Objective 3

Review use cases and production deployments of white-box switching solutions – share learnings and best practices.

Who Should Attend

  • Network operations
  • DevOps
  • SecOps
  • Virtualization operations teams
  • Enterprise data center architects and server administrators
  • Cloud services architects and administrators
  • OpenStack users
  • Network Architects