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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.

Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.

Leaders: Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation; Inder Gopal, board chair for OpenDaylight; David Meyer, chair of the Technical Steering Committee for OpenDaylight.

Founded: April 2013

Funding: Members fund the organization, chipping in anywhere from $10, 000-500,000/year, depending on membership level (silver, gold, platinum).

Why they're on this list: In order for SDN to deliver on all of the lofty promises SDN vendors are making, standards will have to emerge. Otherwise, the history of proprietary solutions and vendor-lock will repeat itself. The OpenDaylight Project was founded by Cisco and IBM and includes most of the usual suspects in networking, such as Citrix, Juniper and VMware, as well as most SDN startups, including Big Switch Networks, PLUMgrid and Plexxi.

Plenty of vendors have already contributed IP to the project. In July, NEC contributed its Virtual Tenant Network technology; Radware added its anti-DDoS toolkit; and Plexxi offered up its Affinity Metadata Service, an API that increases the power of OpenDaylight controllers and applications, allowing them to create a topology- and implementation-independent description of the infrastructure.

As with any standards body, there is still plenty of squabbling, but OpenDaylight is hosted by the Linux Foundation, which boosts its credibility, and it is already making real progress towards an open software-defined vision of the data center.


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