Clemson receives $1.23 million technology gift from Big Switch Networks


CLEMSON — Clemson University’s complex computer network will be more manageable with a $1.23 million gift of networking technology from Big Switch Networks.

Big Switch Networks, of Santa Clara, Calif., is a leader in developing software-defined networking technology, with roots in the original Stanford research team that invented Software Defined Networking (SDN). The company is widely considered to be one of the original pioneers of SDN.

“It’s a bold and forward-looking move for Clemson to adopt this new networking model in our datacenters. We are following in the footsteps of the likes of Google, Facebook and others,” said Dan Schmiedt, director of network services and telecommunications at Clemson. Schmiedt likened it to the recent move to cloud-based applications from the old method of loading software from CDs into physical servers.

The software will make the network another programmable part of Clemson’s high-bandwidth computing infrastructure. It will enable engineers to easily automate and adjust network traffic to meet changing demands.

Clemson’s network carries Web and email traffic for the campus and offices across South Carolina, but also enables data sharing for research. The university’s core network is among the most powerful in the nation — connected at 100 gigabits per second to Internet2’s Innovation Platform, which enables ultra-fast data transfers between collaborators at campuses across the nation.

“Big Switch is a great alternative to more expensive hardware-centric network equipment,” Schmiedt said.

Jim Bottum, Clemson’s vice provost for computing and information technology and chief information officer, said the gift would be a significant piece of Clemson’s next-generation network architecture.

“Clemson’s partnership with a leading company like Big Switch is helping to position the university for its transition to the next-generation of technology infrastructure, a challenge all organizations will inevitably face,” Bottum said.

“Through our relationship with Big Switch, Clemson is able to make this transition in a planned manner while providing educational and research opportunities for our faculty and students in the process,” he added.

“This deployment, spanning hundreds of switches, is just one small part of the fantastic collaboration we’ve had with Clemson. They have been active in the SDN community since inception, and their team helped us design Big Cloud Fabric. It is rewarding for everyone involved to see the result come together as their deployments scale,” said Kyle Forster, founder of Big Switch.

The gift is part of Clemson’s The Will to Lead capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.


Clemson University
Ranked No. 20 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

Big Switch Networks
Big Switch Networks is the market leader in bringing hyperscale data center networking technologies to a mainstream datacenter audience. The company is taking three key hyperscale technologies – OEM/ODM bare metal and open Ethernet switch hardware, sophisticated SDN control software, and core-and-pod data center designs – and leveraging them in fit-for-purpose products designed for use in enterprises, cloud providers, and service providers. The company’s Big Tap Monitoring Fabric is a feature-rich solution to monitor existing networks, and Big Cloud Fabric is the industry’s most advanced bare-metal switching fabric intended for new data center pods such as private cloud, big data, and VDI. For additional information, email, follow @bigswitch, or visit

Big Switch Networks, Big Cloud Fabric, Big Tap, Switch Light OS and Switch Light vSwitch are trademarks or registered trademarks of Big Switch Networks, Inc. All other trademarks, service marks, registered marks, or registered service marks are the property of their respective owners.

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