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10 SDN Startups Driving Innovation

  • 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)

  • Avni


    Avni has developed what it calls a software-defined cloud solution. The key benefit is that companies utilizing multiple cloud service providers can move applications between clouds with relative ease compared to the manual approach. Avni has already partnered with a couple of heavyweights, most notably Citrix and HPE.

  • FixStream


    While software-defined networks become more powerful, they simultaneously become more complex to manage and troubleshoot. This has created a market for SDN tools that automate the process of identifying and resolving performance, optimization and network faults. FixStream’s Meridian platform provides the kind of actionable SDN data that admins need.

  • iPhotonix


    Geared toward carrier networks, iPhotonix has created an open source SDN platform to revolutionize how service providers manage the services they offer to customers. The iPhotonix Virtual Network (iVN) is an open source platform that allows carriers to build out their network management and orchestration infrastructure using white box server and network hardware.

  • Compass Networks


    One hot startup that develops both hardware and software is Compass Networks. The organization focuses on high-capacity, high-speed photonic backplane technology called icPhotonics -- and combining it with an open source SDN platform. The combination makes for a ready-made architecture that is light years ahead of traditional designs in terms of performance, flexibility and speed of new service deployment.

  • CloudGenix


    If there’s one SDN technology that’s heading toward mainstream  enterprise adoption, it has to be software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). One of the pioneers in this market is CloudGenix. Using its ION architecture, CloudGenix lets companies have control over their WAN, giving administrators the ability to identify and prioritize specific application traffic.

  • Glue Networks


    Another emerging player in the world of SD-WAN is Glue Networks. The Glueware 2.0 platform is a cloud-based, software-only solution that allows for zero-touch deployment and customizable SD-WAN management capabilities. The Glueware software can orchestrate and ease deployment of any number of WAN architectures including Cisco’s IWAN.

  • Cradlepoint/Pertino


    One SDN startup that was recently acquired is Pertino. Cradlepoint, a 4G LTE and cloud service provider in the United States, bought Pertino in late 2015. The company is going to utilize the SD-WAN capabilities that Pertino brings to the table as a way to streamline the cost and complexity of rolling out 4G and MPLS services to small and midsize businesses.

  • PLUMgrid


    PLUMgrid is making its name in the realm of OpenStack cloud management. Its PLUMgrid Open Networking Suite (ONS) is a software platform that eases the difficulties in managing and securing OpenStack clouds through automation and increased visibility.

  • Teridion


    If you are in the business of dynamic content distribution, you should definitely check out Teridion. Whether you are sharing files, providing voice/video services or serving up web content and advertising, Teridion is focused on optimizing the delivery of content from clouds using SDN technologies to improve the end user’s quality of experience (QoE). This includes better visibility, fault detection, and automatically detecting and bypassing network congestion.