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10 network virtualization, SDN and data center companies to watch

Brandon Butler | Feb. 28, 2013
After years of venture capital and start-up focus on consumer-focused tech companies, enterprise networks and the data center are back in vogue.

Founded: 2009

Focus: Network virtualization for cloud service providers

Product availability: MidoNet software is in beta now, general availability in Q1

Funding: $5.5M in seed funding from angel investors Bit-Isle, and institutional investors NTT Investment Partners, MUFJ Capital and 1st Holdings.

Management: Tatsuya Kato, co-Founder and CEO, was CEO of mobile Internet company Cybird and a former executive at Japanese systems integrator CSK Holdings; Chief Strategy Officer Ben Cherian was GM of emerging technologies at DreamHost; Dan Dumitriu, co-founder and CTO, was an Amazon Web Services architect.

More information: Midokura 

The founders of Midokura started the company with one bold goal: To create a public cloud service in Japan that would rival Amazon Web Services. But if anyone could do it, it may be these guys. Members of the team worked with Amazon CTO Werner Vogels to help create Amazon Web Services' distributed Dynamo database system.

But when the Midokura team began planning for the massive data center infrastructure that would be needed, they ran into a big problem. Networking, they found, was not ready for the cloud. To get to their goal, they needed to solve the networking problem first, which is why they created MidoNet software. When testing the technology they believed it could be as big of a business opportunity as creating an AWS in Japan, and have been focused solely on their networking operating platform since.

MidoNet software centrally controls all aspects of an IaaS cloud network, from the switches to the routers to x86 servers to firewalls to any other piece of commodity hardware. It centrally analyzes traffic at the very edge, as soon as it enters the network. Each aspect of a Midokura network is linked, which the company says allows the software to route traffic directly from the entry point to the destination in the most efficient way possible. In doing so, it's "blowing up the router," says Midokura's Cherian.

"Since you're abstracting away the devices from the network controls and pushing the intelligence of the network to the farthest edges, the physical infrastructure is still there, but you're not requiring as much from it," Cherian explains. Switches and routers, he says, simply aren't designed to handle the massive amount of changes that occur within a cloud network. MidoNet is designed for the dynamically scaling network requirements of a cloud. Initial deployments of the system work with OpenStack-powered clouds.

Nutanix

Headquarters: San Jose

Founded: 2009

Focus: SAN-less storage and compute clusters

Product availability: Generally available

Funding: $71.6M from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Blumberg Capital, Khosla Ventures, Battery Ventures and Goldman Sachs

Management: Founder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey, former vice president of engineering at Aster Data (now Teradata), managed the storage engine group for Oracle Database/Exadata; vice president of operations David Sangste, formerly with EMC, Data Domain, Hewlett Packard; vice president of engineering Bill Culman, formerly of QuorumLabs, Interwoven, BEA Systems and Tandem Computers.

 

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