August 08, 2012, 10:24 AM — A start-up that bases its product line and business model on software-defined networking concepts is emerging from stealth mode.
PLUMgrid announced this week that it landed $10.7 million in Series A funding from US Venture Partners and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. PLUMgrid was founded in early 2011 with an initial funding of $2 million, and is working on an ecosystem-driven network infrastructure built on software-defined networking (SDN) concepts.
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The company will establish a beachhead in network virtualization and then branch out from there into other areas of programmable networking, said CEO and Co-founder Awais Nemat. Nemat, a former Marvell Semiconductor and Cisco executive and engineer, founded PLUMgrid with two other former Cisco engineers.
The rest of PLUMgrids workforce includes systems, silicon and software designers from Cisco, Marvell, Nicira, Sun, Vyatta and VMware with a five-year immersion in network virtualization. Yes, Cisco was even thinking about SDNs and network virtualization in the mid-2000s, perhaps longer.
PLUMgrids founders noted a shift in the way customers wanted to buy networking gear about six or seven years ago, when merchant silicon began to rival the capabilities of Ciscos ASICs.
The silicon and systems ecosystems are well-established, Nemat says. But the softwareand the applications that go on top are a big void, and thats where we fit in. Thats the problem we are trying to solve.
Just as the money moved from server manufacturers to silicon and software developers, so too will the money flow from network systems to silicon and software, Nemat says. And the opportunity is not small: $40 billion is at stake, he says, but divided into separate multibillion dollar silos with particular product requirements and customer segments.
With networking as the glue between compute and storage and applications in a cloud infrastructure, it too has to go the way of those other IT components it has to be virtualized, Nemat says.
When it is not virtualized, it is getting in the way of business, he says. So all the promises of virtualization delivered in compute, storage and applications have to be delivered again, in networking.