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Big Switch Funding Shows SDN Momentum

Software-defined networking (SDN) pioneer Big Switch Networks Inc. today announced new funding of $48.5 million, demonstrating continuing momentum for the upstart technology that's disrupting traditional enterprise datacenters.

The 2010 start-up features two main products: Big Monitoring Fabric, described as "a specialized, ultra-low cost fabric for tools that need access to network taps, facilitating coordination between teams monitoring the network"; and Big Cloud Fabric, which features SDN software running on bare-metal (or white-box) commodity hardware. The latter is said to embrace "hyperscale datacenter design principles to enable rapid innovation, easy provisioning and management, while reducing overall costs."

Big Switch said the new money will be used to grow the company and expand its geographic and market reach. That market, IHS Research estimates, will reach $13 billion in 2019, a huge increase from 2014's valuation of $781 million.

The funding comes from previous and brand-new investors, including Morgenthaler Ventures, Silver Lake Waterman, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Accton, CID Group and MSD Capital, among others. Industry observers at those companies and others said the funding showcases the continuing momentum of SDN and related technologies such as network functions virtualization (NFV).

"Organizations can no longer ignore the advantages of software-defined networking," said Shawn K. O'Neill, an exec at Silver Lake Waterman. "We believe Big Switch has differentiated technology in an extremely strategic category."

Adam Johnson, vice president of Business at Midokura, another SDN player, also weighed in.

"We're excited to hear about Big Switch Network's funding news," Johnson told ADTMag. "Start-ups in the networking, and specifically network virtualization space, are seeing some very positive traction with customers. What's more, strong partnerships, such as Dell Open Networking, have also proven to be a very positive factor for both Big Switch and Midokura. This new funding round shows there's still investor appetite for innovative networking startup companies who are gaining strong momentum with customers."

Big Switch also named former NetApp CEO, Dan Warmenhoven, and veteran venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler, to its board of directors.

"I am pleased that our performance continues to earn the trust of our customers, partners and investors, all of whom believe in our mission to disrupt the status quo of networking," said Big Switch CEO Douglas Murray. "Dan Warmenhoven's knowledge and operational experience scaling NetApp from hyper-growth startup through maturity will be invaluable as Big Switch continues to scale and as we introduce our core products to new customers in more markets around the world. I am also thrilled to have Gary Morgenthaler join the board to share his invaluable experience as one of Silicon Valley's pre-eminent investors."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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