Big Switch pockets $25 million, targets Cisco and Juniper

Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures now back SDN start-up

With $25 million in new funding, software defined networking specialist Big Switch Networks is itching to take on networking giants Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR).

SDN enables enterprises to improve network flexibility and save money on hardware by putting more of the network operation in the hands of a software-based controller.

Redpoint Ventures, Goldman Sachs and existing investors Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures are betting that Big Switch can convince companies to make the big switch to SDN from traditional networking.

Big Switch Networks' Open SDN architecture uses industry standards and open application programming interfaces (APIs) designed to enable organizations to deploy flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization.

SDN challenges the data center market by making the control plane, which is traditionally made up of proprietary network switches and routers, remotely accessible and modifiable by third-party software clients.

"Picture the networking seven layer OSI model that is found everywhere from textbooks to company names. Now picture taking a magic marker and crossing it out, replacing it with a three tier architecture of an SDN data plane, SDN controller plane and SDN applications," explained Big Switch cofounders Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster.

True to form, Cisco is not taking a challenger lying down. In addition to dominating the traditional networking market, Cisco is a leader in the SDN market, according to a recent survey of 103 North American enterprises conducted by Infonetics. The survey also identified IBM (NYSE: IBM) as a leading SDN vendor.

The survey also found that virtualization, security and application performance are the leading drivers for investing in new data center facilities.

"Nearly one-fourth of the enterprises we interviewed for our new data center and SDN survey have already deployed SDN technology in their data centers, and one-third plan to do so by the end of next year. This is impressive given the nascent nature of most SDN technologies and the relatively sophisticated IT community required to implement them," commented Sam Barnett, directing analyst for data center and cloud at Infonetics.

A full 70 percent of firms surveyed said they are increasing spending in data storage. Two-thirds are pumping more money into cloud services, and 59 percent are upping spending on physical servers

At the same time, only 14 percent of survey respondents plan to consolidate their data centers in the next two years, according to the survey.

The SDN market is red hot right now, with big players going after startups. Enterprises are sure to benefit with more product offerings, greater data center and networking flexibility and most importantly lower costs.

For more:
- see Big Switch release
- check out Infonetics' data

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