Plexxi was first involved with Network Field Day about 5 months ago at Network Field Day 5. There, they demo’d their very unique approach to networking.

You won’t hear about Plexxi without hearing about their WDM-based optical network design. You may even hear it referred to unofficially as Layer 1 SDN - and that’s a pretty apt description. Plexxi uses special

From a logical perspective (kind of semi-logical and semi-physical) I think it’s great. While the cabling may be a ring, the Photonic Switching allows them to connect two physical switches together that aren’t directly connected, allowing us to come up with some pretty cool logical topologies.

Oh and by the way, the recent discussions regarding VXLAN Tunnel End Points (VTEPs) where a VXLAN “tunnel” terminates in a hardware appliance, providing an integration point is really relevant here, because the Plexxi switch is powered by the Broadcom Trident II, which includes VXLAN support, among other things. This gets interesting considering the logical topologies that Plexxi can create is almost a Layer 1 version to what we’ve been discussing in overlay networking - so I’m interested to see how they view the two integrating in the future.

Finally,I’m interested in hearing how their journey towards market penetration has gone. The Plexxi design is pretty different from what you’d typically find in a datacenter, so I’m eager to hear how the customers that they have won over to this new topology in the little bit of time since we saw them last are using its features.

See below for some articles from other NFD delegates. I’ll be reading these and more to prepare for Plexxi’s second appearance at NFD6.

Past NFD Articles of Note:


Matt Oswalt

Matt Oswalt is an all-around technology nerd, currently focusing on networking, software development, and everything in between. He is at his happiest in front of a keyboard, next to a brewing kettle, or wielding his silo-smashing sledgehammer. He spends his days diving deep into the intersection of networking and software, and likes to blog about his experiences when he comes up for air. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIN.