10 SDN Startups Driving Innovation

These companies are forging new frontiers in software-defined networking.

The world of software-defined networks is far from solidified. Unlike other enterprise-class networking technologies, SDN is expected to be highly compatible from vendor to vendor through open source architectures. This opens the door for agile startups to innovate inside the overall umbrella of software-defined solutions. So despite many of the large networking vendors driving the overall “big picture” when it comes to SDN concept, many small startups contribute in unique ways.

In this slideshow, we look at 10 hot SDN startups making their name in the market. While most of these companies operate independently, that might not last for long. SDN startups with great ideas often quickly become acquired by tech giants. Such was the case when VMware acquired Nicira in 2012, and more recently when Cisco acquired Embrane last year.

So it's safe to say that at least a few of the SDN startups here will be snapped up over the course of the next few years. Others will likely grow on their own while the rest will ultimately fade away. But at this point in time, each of these companies show considerable promise in an SDN market that is expected to reach $12.5 billion by 2020.

When you click through the slides, you’ll find that some startups compete against one another in the areas of SD-WAN, visibility and analytics tools, and cloud management. These areas of SDN are relevant today for a customer base that’s looking to solve problems they’re encountering right now. Other startups are trying to carve out a specific niche. These are the true outliers of the bunch and have the most to gain or lose. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be in networking!

Need more details on SDN? Join expert Ivan Pepelnjak live for the workshops Hands-On Introduction to OpenDaylight and OpenFlow Deep Dive at Interop Las Vegas this spring. Don't miss out! Register now for Interop, May 2-6, and receive $200 off.

(Image: geralt/Pixabay)

About the Author(s)

Andrew Froehlich, President, West Gate Networks

President, West Gate Networks

As a highly experienced network architect and trusted IT consultant with worldwide contacts, particularly in the United States and Southeast Asia, Andrew Froehlich has nearly two decades of experience and possesses multiple industry certifications in the field of enterprise networking. Froehlich has participated in the design and maintenance of networks for State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, Chicago-area schools and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is the founder and president of Loveland, Colo.-based West Gate Networks, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and data center build outs. The author of two Cisco certification study guides published by Sybex, he is a regular contributor to multiple enterprise IT related websites and trade journals with insights into rapidly changing developments in the IT industry.

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