Plexxi has already seen some success in the financial sector, where organizations are looking for ultra low-latency private cloud infrastructures. The company's system is ideal for networks that include a high number of server connectivity points, and for content delivery and big data applications, according to Plexxi. One early customer has created a premium service cloud computing offering that guarantees no two servers are ever more than one hop away from one another, for example.
The company is made of proud Bostonians. On its website, CEO Husak shows his East Coast pride, noting: "The last time there was a shift of this magnitude in enterprise networking, Boston-based companies led the way. And, it's going to happen that way again."
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Focus: Network virtualization-plus
Product availability: First half of 2013
Funding: $10.7 million in Series A funding from US Venture Partners and Hummer Winblad Partners
Management: Lot of former Cisco employees and engineers, including Co-founder and CEO Awais Nemat, Co-founder and CTO Pere Monclus, Head of Product Management Valentina Alaria and Vice President of Engineering Lele Nardin
More information: PLUMgrid
PLUMgrid has issued an open challenge about why the company is called what it's called. When executives reveal details about the company's plans during a launch event in the spring, CEO Nemat plans to hold a drawing for anyone who guesses right and the winner will take home an iPad.
Nemat is also secretive about exactly what the 50-employee company is up to, but has shared some clues. He promises it will be a virtual networking advancement. The problem with many existing solutions, Nemat says, is that they're not able to work on top of existing network gear, requiring a "rip and replace" model.
PLUMgrid's technology, described as an I/O control system for connecting networks, storage, compute and applications, "lives on top of servers as a software layer that protects existing investments, while also providing a path for greenfield investments," Nemat says. PLUMgrid has decided not to be OpenFlow-based, and is instead developing its own network controlling software.
8. Pluribus Networks
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
Focus: Hardware-accelerated network virtualization for public/private clouds
Product availability: Limited availability of NetVisor software and Server-Switch hardware, with general availability in Q2
Funding: $42 million from NEA, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures.
Management: CEO Robert Drost and CTO Sunay Tripathi, both formerly with Sun; Vice President of Engineering Ken Yang is on sabbatical from UCLA
More information: Pluribus
While working at Sun as chief architect for storage and network virtualization of Solaris, Pluribus CTO Tripathi kept running into the same problem, as did Sun customers. "Coordinating between multiple networking components is really hard to do," he says. Between the compute virtualization layer, the persistent environment and the different operating systems, hypervisors and applications on each server, it is really difficult to centrally control them.