SDN (Software Defined Networking) is being labeled as the next game changer technology in the networking world as it aims to make the hardware infrastructure oblivious to actual traffic patterns by enabling software programmability of flows and additional features. That essentially means switches and routers can be remotely maintained and even configured using third-party applications, thereby providing an efficient and cost effective solution while bringing down network maintenance costs.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that all major networking players are aggressively making a ‘big’ push on SDN. In April, Cisco outlined its SDN strategy and invested $100 million in a networking startup called Insieme that was started by three of its ex-employees. As expected, Cisco’s move proved to be a trendsetter in the SDN segment which has since then seen several new players – big and small emerge on the scene. Shortly after, Cisco’s arch rival VMware acquired Nicira, a software-defined networking company, in July for $1.26 billion.
And yesterday, Big Switch Networks (BSN), a network virtualization company, best known for its OpenFlow platform, announced that it has raised $25 million in a new funding round. While it’s early days yet, BSN’s astonishing growth rate could make it an interesting battle against SDN heavyweights such as Cisco and Juniper.
Founded in 2010 by Appenzeller and Kyle Forster, Big Switch plans to dramatically simplify the way information-technology managers run the mesh of routers and switches that connects their data centers. It’s Open SDN architecture leverages industry standards and open application programming interfaces (APIs) designed to enable organizations to deploy flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization. The company closed its Series A funding round of $14 million, in March 2011.
The Series B round was led by Redpoint Ventures and Goldman Sachs and included existing investors Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures, among others.
Big Switch says it has been generating revenue since inception and it has conducted interoperability trials with Arista, Brocade, Dell, Extreme, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks and Citrix, Red Hat, Microsoft, and VMware.
“Big Switch is delivering on the vision of software-defined networking with an open and standards-based platform that enables network programmability, flexibility and new levels of network service delivery. We started this revolutionary trend away from closed and proprietary systems, and are gratified that every major physical and virtual infrastructure vendor is now participating,” Guido Appenzeller, CEO and co-founder of Big Switch, said in a statement.
Earlier this year, there were speculations that EMC Ventures would make a large investment in Big Switch. That didn’t happen though as VMware (EMC owns 80 percent of VMware) scooped up Nicira.
SDN is currently the talk of the town among companies which operate in cloud computing and big data markets. OpenFlow is currently the most widely adopted protocol in SDN market and it’s backed by the Open Networking Foundation which includes a number of major tech players—such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Verizon as members.