Pluribus UNUM – Engineering Simplicity for Your Data Centers

Working with a variety of customers across hundreds of deployments we learn about their different needs and guiding principles. Of course there are table stakes like reliability, performance, and security but the one that we hear about the most is “simplicity”. This, it seems, is the most elusive guiding principle to achieve in network design and ongoing operations adopted by customers. And this is one of the key reasons why many customers transition to Pluribus open networking and next generation SDN.

At Pluribus Networks, we are passionate about enabling simplicity and agility for our customers. With open networking we help customers jettison complex hardware-software dependencies incurred by the vertically integrated incumbent vendors. With a controllerless SDN fabric as our foundation, Pluribus enables powerful options for network architects and administrators to program the network – CLI, Rest APIs, Ansible, and other modern tools. For example, with one CLI command or a single REST API call to any single switch in the fabric, a network engineer can provision a VLAN across the entire fabric. However if you have a small network team and don’t want to hassle with CLI or API calls we offer a powerful GUI based management platform providing Fabric Management and Analytics – Pluribus UNUM.

“Doing more with less” is always beneficial from an economic point of view. What makes that possible is automation that extends simplicity to multiple processes. This is especially true when a two or three person team is handling all the aspects of networking. With Pluribus UNUM, the networking team can view, troubleshoot, or update policy across the entire fabric. This not only enhances operational agility and efficiency; it virtually eliminates human error by enabling multiple data center sites to be programmed and automated as one logical entity.

So, What is Pluribus UNUM?

It’s a browser-based tool that unifies fabric management, zero touch provisioning, automation, and analytics into a single platform.  Today, many, if not most, admins and network engineers manage their fabrics through the command line interface. Pluribus UNUMTM offers an alternative, more intuitive means of performing network tasks and automating workflows.

UNUM Has Two Major Components:

The first is the fabric management and automation component that comes with the base license. Admins can perform network tasks such as the creation of VLAN’s, adding ports, creating trunks, or managing routes, and many other common functions. With this license users can also save time by automating the provisioning of switches, the creation of fabrics, and the building of underlays.

The second component is Insight Analytics, a real-time analytics and performance management module that uses telemetry from the fabric nodes.  With Insight Analytics, view traffic flow patterns, see user activity, or even analyze VMware virtual machine traffic.

Unlike traditional analytics solutions that require expensive hardware probes and packet brokers that add tremendous cost – especially if one wants pervasive telemetry. Pluribus Networks has implemented a rich set of Telemetry in our Netvisor ONE OS and Adaptive Cloud Fabric SDN implementation without the need for external probes or packet brokers. Insight Analytics can capture every TCP flow without sampling across the data center fabric, including across multiple data center locations, and can store up to 2.5 billion flows per license. Using Insight Analytics software provides the ability to set filters, alerts, and alarms and to visually inspect the entire fabric across time. Network operators can quickly drill down to a single TCP flow between two end-points at a particular point in time to isolate performance problems or faults.

So putting it all together, UNUM manages NetvisorⓇ ONE OS devices and allows admins to provision networks without needing to use CLI.  Workflow automation accelerates deployment by drastically reducing the time needed to provision switches, create fabrics, and build underlays. Insight Analytics, provides simple, fast telemetry and flow information in an easy to understand graphical format.

Both components leverage an ElasticSearch database and engine, providing fast and simple search ability on IPs, trunks, names, and VLANs.  This engine provides real time and historical data on up to two billion flows, depending on the version of UNUM you have.

Pluribus UNUM is third-party device aware, and collects telemetry, SNMP and syslog meta data, as well as device information through LLDP.  Also, communication with the VMware vcenter database, allows UNUM to import and store meta-data down to the individual Virtual Machine.

For more on Pluribus UNUM, senior technical marketing engineering Garry Lemasa walks you through the fundamental tenets of Pluribus UNUM. Watch video.

In upcoming blogs, we will cover the following topics:

  • Pluribus UNUM – Zero Touch Provisioning, Fabric Health Dashboard, vPort Dashboard, Virtual Link Extension and the new 5.x Features
  • How are customers leveraging Pluribus UNUM to achieve better automation and gain insights into their network

For Additional Reading

Pluribus UNUM Datasheet

Pluribus UNUM Insight Analytics Datasheet

If you want to see Pluribus UNUM and its capabilities in action  Request your Demo.

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About the Author

Jayesh Chokshi

Jay has over 15+ years of engineering, technical marketing and product management experience in the networking industry. Prior to joining Pluribus, Jay served as the Director of Product Management for several of Cisco’s Enterprise networking product lines, including the launch of the market leading and latest generation of ISRs - ISR4000 series and the virtualization platform ENCS5000 Series. His specialties include Enterprise and Managed Service Provider Networking solutions including SD-WAN, NFV, Data Center switching and Converged Infrastructure solutions. Jay is responsible for driving the Pluribus product/solutions portfolio and technical marketing and partner activities.