& cplSiteName &

6 SDN Startups to Watch

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
8/10/2012
50%
50%

With Nicira Networks Inc. getting acquired by VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), who's left in the software-defined networking (SDN) startup world? (See VMware to Buy SDN Startup for More Than $1B and VMware Insists It's Not Warring With Cisco.)

Given the popularity of SDN as a buzzword, it seems inevitable that a host of small companies will start calling themselves "SDN." Below are a few that have crossed Light Reading's path and seem worth keeping an eye on.

We've allowed the boundaries of "SDN" to stretch a little; you'll find a couple of cloud-networking companies in here that might or might not count, depending on your definitions. Rather than quibble, we'll suggest you use the message boards to tell us who doesn't belong and who we've left out.

Big Switch Networks
Floodlight has become the top OpenFlow controller on the market, in large part because Big Switch Networks seems to be partnered with everybody. Often mentioned in the same breath with Nicira, and likewise staffed with some of the Stanford University students who'd helped create OpenFlow, Big Switch is now the big name among independent SDN companies.



Embrane
Most of the SDN attention has gone to Layer 2, where OpenFlow resides, and Layer 3, which is an obvious next target for OpenFlow or a similar protocol. Embrane Inc. wants to work at Layers 4 through 7, creating virtual appliances on the fly -- things like firewalls or load balancers. Bonus tidbit: Founders including CEO Dante Malagrino come from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) spin-ins Andiamo and Nuovo and now are (maybe) competing with Cisco's SDN spin-in, Insieme.

Vyatta
Back in 2006, we wrote about Vyatta Inc. putting routing software onto plain servers. Voila -- generic router! Now, Vyatta has shifted to a role helping create network connections between virtual machines. One selling point is that direct east/west connections between virtual machines can be created, as opposed to "tromboning" -- sending the traffic out to a router and back.

Vyatta's age (founded in 2005) makes the "startup" moniker debatable, and the company does describe itself as being about managing virtualization more than about full-blown SDN. "We're not trying to get the network to do programmatic backflips yet," CEO Kelly Herrell says.



ConteXtream
Before the SDN craze kicked in, ConteXtream was talking about applying grid-networking techniques to the cloud. ConteXtream's software, ingeniously named Grid, creates a fabric that connects any network element to any other. The result is a programmable overlay on top of the data-center network.

PLUMgrid
Because PlumGrid Inc. isn't even giving hints about its technology yet, it's easy to pass it off as a bandwagon-hopper. But its team has been contemplating and even developing SDN ideas for about seven years. CEO Awais Nemat was in charge of the switch-chip division at Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), and CTO Pere Monclus and Director of Product Management Valentina Alaria worked on OpenFlow while at Cisco.

Midokura
Probably the least well-known company on this list, Midokura started examining the potential for SDN in 2009. It's based in Japan, where SDN has a strong grip on the industry's collective consciousness and a big-name backer in NTT. Midokura's claim to fame will be the ability to create virtual appliances for Layers 2 through 7 -- overlapping the target markets of Nicira and Embrane, in a sense.

For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:04 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch


CRAIG


Interesting post. You've obviously been keeping close tabs on this area.


I'm guessing these companies are mostly VC funded?


 


 


 

Todd_Craw
50%
50%
Todd_Craw,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:24:03 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch
You left off Plexxi who is really interesting and absolutely belongs on this list.
big_thinker
50%
50%
big_thinker,
User Rank: Lightning
12/5/2012 | 5:24:02 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch


Actually the list is pretty darn long, with the broader context in the article, such as..


* Pluribus


* Plexxi


* Contrail


* Pertino


* vArmor


* and the few under stealth mode which would come up this year and early next year.


and this does not include the SDN or SDN-like projects in bigger companies like Cisco, Juniper, HP,  Dell, Oracle, Microsofts etc. 


What is the market timing for these companies to get real business?

fgoldstein
50%
50%
fgoldstein,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:23:59 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch


What is the market timing for these companies to get real business?


Welcome to silly valley, where "investors" chase the hot buzzword of the day.  SDN was a hot term two decades ago in the phone business, if anyone has a long memory; it's funny to hear it again in context of OpenFlow.



Software-based routers like Vyatta, Imagestream and MikroTik, make a lot of senes.  They are getting faster as standard chips improve, and cost far less than Ciscos of equivalent power.  They don't reach the high end yet, but cover more and more ground.  It'll be interesting to see how MikroTik's Cloud Core Router works out, using its Linux-derived RouterOS on a 36-core Tilera CPU.


I've heard some reasons to doubt OpenFlow, though. It should be fine in a data center.  But by moving the control away from the switch, it adds latency, so it could impair performance of wide-area networks.  Let's see how that works out once it's past beta.  At this stage it's just a lot of VCs at the race track while the horses are walking towards the starting gate.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:53 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch


Thanks for the extra list, big_thinker.  I probably should have added vArmour. Something about them being security focused made them feel like a different, even newer category somehow. (I'm now thinking otherwise. Never said this was a scientific process.) I'll admit I haven't heard of some of the others, so I've got some catching up to do.


The list was specifically for startups, so no, I didn't include any of the activities at the larger companies. (That includes Insieme.) If I did, it would basically be a list of everyone in networking!

big_thinker
50%
50%
big_thinker,
User Rank: Lightning
12/5/2012 | 5:23:34 PM
re: 6 SDN Startups to Watch


You are welcome craig.  there is an interesting one i missed.  its cummulus from former googlers.    they are low-key but focused on selling.  among large companies, you can also add alu ipd.  they are also tip-toeing.


some companies have gotten focused on intense marketing, way before they have anything meaningful. one such company on your list is plumgrid.  word on the street is that one of their key founders and chief-architect & developer, michael smith, recently left to join inseimi due to issues with their product goals.


i am tracking this landscape for over few years and am happy to add 2 cents...

From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.