Big Switch is an OpenFlow pioneer and one of the leading platform-independent software-defined networking vendors. Big Switch was founded in 2010 by Guido Appenzeller, who led the Clean Slate lab at Stanford. The company’s Open SDN platform leverages industry standards and open APIs that enable customers to deploy flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization. It released its Floodlight controller as open-source in early 2012 and has over 7,500 downloads to date of its controller and APIs.
On October 31, 2012 Big Switch received $25 million in Series B funding from new investors Redpoint Ventures and Goldman Sachs. The Palo Alto-based company will use the cash to add to its engineering staff. Existing backers Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures also participated in this round.
Big Switch has a broad ecosystem of partners to insure interoperability with existing network infrastructure and to help develop new applications to leverage its OpenFlow development.
Big Switch has broad interoperability support with network products including Arista, Brocade, Dell, Extreme, HP, IBM, Juniper and hypervisors including VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Red Hat.
Security and Layer 4-7 partners include F5, Palo Alto, Radware, Fortinet, V-Armour, A10, and Coraid.
New Product Announcement
On November 13, 2012, Big Switch made 3 product announcements:
• Commercial availability of its OpenFlow Controller (Big Network Controller)
• An OpenFlow application that dynamically provisions virtual network segments (Big Virtual Switch)
• An application that improves monitoring and management of OpenFlow (Big Tap)
Impact on the SDN Market
The Big Switch announcement brings the concrete benefits of OpenFlow to enterprise IT. It provides both CAPEX (e.g. increased VM densities) and OPEX (e.g. improved network monitoring capabilities) benefits for enterprise networks and cloud data centers.
Doyle Research believes that SDN adoption will be driven by the applications that provide specific improvements to customer networks. Big Switch introduced 2 applications that clearly demonstrate the value of SDN/OpenFlow. Big Virtual Switch will reduce the time to provision public and private data center networks and allow for increased VM densities. Big Tap offers much needed virtual monitoring of OpenFlow switches.
Big Switch has a strong ecosystem that will deliver many more valuable OpenFlow applications to its customers, including security (e.g. firewalls), server load balancing, WAN optimization, and network management. Its partnership with many leading universities is likely to yield many more diverse OpenFlow applications. Big Switch’s ability to work with a wide range of VM environments, legacy switch infrastructure, and the emerging OpenFlow ecosystem make it a strong supplier for those organizations looking to implement OpenFlow.