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10 Software Defined Networking Startups to Watch

Jeff Vance | Aug. 23, 2013
As the software-defined data center evolves from dream to reality, many Software Defined Networking (SDN) startups are being snatched up by established networking vendors. Here are nine SDN startups (and an important new standards body) that intend to push SDN into the mainstream.

Customers include PEER1 Hosting, SunGard, Long View Systems, NaviSite and Ryan Labs Asset Management.

Competitive Landscape: When looking at competitors, you have to start with the gorilla in the room: Cisco. Others include VMware (through the Nicira acquisition), Brocade (Vyatta acquisition) and other startups, including Midokura, Big Switch, PLUMgrid and Plexxi.

4. Jeda Networks

What they do: Provide SDN storage (SDSN) technology.

Headquarters: Newport Beach, Calif.

CEO: Stuart Berman. Prior to Jeda Networks, he was the SVP and CTO of Emulex.

Founded: 2010

Funding: Jeda is funded by US Venture Partners and Miramar Venture Partners. Amounts have not been disclosed.

Why they're on this list: The widespread adoption of virtualization has the unintended consequence of challenging storage networks to the point where traditional products and architectures are having trouble keeping up.

Jeda Networks intends to solve this problem by having software perform the storage tasks of traditional storage hardware, linking together storage equipment and the servers and endpoints that access data on those systems. Jeda's Fabric Network Software-based controller manages standard 10GB Ethernet switches, rather than switches with specialized storage hardware/firmware, thus eliminating the need for additional hardware to accommodate the SAN. In addition, this enables SAN capabilities in mixed-switch vendor environments.

End users are now able to select a switch vendor based on extended Ethernet capabilities, rather than being stuck with the vendor and switch that supports your particular SAN.

Competitive Landscape: The most direct competitors are Brocade and Cisco. According to Jeda, both vendors sell Fibre Channel and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches and both charge huge premiums for their add-on SAN functionality. Both vendors also take a hardware-centric approach to storage networks and even go so far as to embed specialized hardware and firmware in their SAN-capable switches.

5. Metacloud

What they do: Develop on-premises, managed private cloud solutions built on OpenStack.

Headquarters: Pasadena, Calif.

CEO and President: Sean Lynch, who formerly served as SVP of technology operations at Ticketmaster Entertainment, is CEO, while Steve Curry, who was previously the manager of global storage operations at Yahoo, serves as President.

Founded: 2011

Funding: Metacloud closed a $10 million Series A round in June. The round was led by canaan Ventures and joined by existing seed investors Storm Ventures and Jerry Yang's (former Yahoo co-founder) AME Cloud Ventures. Metacloud is not disclosing the amount of the seed round raised from Storm and AME.

Why they're on this list: Public and private cloud solutions each come with their own pros and cons. The public cloud becomes prohibitively expensive at scale and doesn't utilize on-premises hardware, while the private cloud demands intensive resources and knowledge just to maintain and manage it.


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