The new Switch Light virtual switch is based on Open Source technology called Indigo, which provides an OpenFlow agent. The idea of having a virtual switch for SDN is not new; the Linux kernel itself includes an open source virtual switch called vSwitch. The Open vSwitch has been part of every Linux distribution since the Linux 3.3 kernel release a year ago.
Andrew Harding, senior director of product marketing at Big Switch, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that there have been some proprietary patches that Nicira division has added on top of the open vSwitch. Open vSwitch was originally contributed to the mainline Linux kernel by Nicira.
“The vSwitch is a good thing and we’re glad you can get a vSwitch in the Linux kernel and we’re glad that Canonical and Red Hat are shipping that by default,” Harding said. “The fact that there is now a proprietary patch, that’s unfortunate.”
He added that Switch Light is not a proprietary vSwitch. Rather it is an open source implementation of OpenFlow that works with the open vSwitch that is already in the Linux kernel.
The Open vSwitch in the Linux kernel does not include the forwarding instructions related to OpenFlow. That’s where Indigo and the new Switch Light technology come into play.