Data Center SDN Startup Pluribus Raises $50M
Ken Young, VP of product engineering and co-founder, Pluribus Networks (Image: Pluribus promo video)

Data Center SDN Startup Pluribus Raises $50M

Three new investors, including Ericsson and Singapore’s Temasek, join round

Pluribus Networks, a Palo Alto, California-based data center SDN startup, has closed a $50 million Series D funding round led by Temasek Holdings, a huge Singapore investment company with a total portfolio value of $177 billion.

Pluribus’ flagship product, called Netvisor, creates a virtual network over a group of bare-metal hardware switches. It creates a switching fabric that abstracts the physical resources, presenting logical virtual switches to the applications.

Pluribus is one of numerous startups pitching technological approaches to data center infrastructure taken by the so-called Web-scale operators – the likes of Google, Facebook, and Twitter – to smaller companies with much smaller data center requirements. SDN, or software defined networking, makes networks more agile, automating network configuration tasks that have traditionally been done manually and taken long time to complete.

In addition to data center SDN functionality, companies like Pluribus are offering the benefit of independence from traditional network vendors like Cisco that sell switches that work only with Cisco software. Pluribus and its competitors, startups such as Cumulus Networks and Big Switch Networks, make network operating systems and management software that can be deployed on any bare metal hardware.

Last year, there were multiple signs that traditional network hardware “incumbents” were reacting to the trend. Juniper Networks announced plans to ship a switch that will support any network OS in December. Dell has a line of switches that ship with Cumulus, Big Switch, or Midocura software.

“Hardware independence coupled with a secure and programmable SDN platform, offering scale, automated configuration, operational simplicity, and open standards are key working group requirements being addressed by the Pluribus Netvisor Operating System,” Nick Lippis, co-chairman of the Open Networking User Group, said in a statement. ONUG is an SDN think tank of sorts, which has some heavyweight end users on its member roster, including IT execs from Citi, UBS, Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, FedEx, Pfizer, and Gap, among others.

All existing investors joined Netvisor in the latest Pluribus funding round. They include New Enterprise Associates, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow, and AME Cloud Ventures, led by Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang who was also the first investor in Pluribus.

Other new investors were Ericsson and Netwech, a turnkey data center infrastructure provider in Asia.

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