Bare-metal switches running SDN fabric by Big Switch in the company's own data center (Source: Big Switch video)

Bare-metal switches running SDN fabric by Big Switch in the company's own data center (Source: Big Switch video)

Data Center Network Startup Big Switch Raises $48.5M

Big Switch Networks, an open networking software startup attempting to disrupt the incumbent data center networking industry, has raked in another hefty round of venture capital funding.

The company has raised $48.5 million in a Series C round, its largest yet, from a group of investors that includes the likes of Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital, as well as Shanghai-based private equity giant CID Group and the Taiwanese contract hardware manufacturer Accton, among others.

Including the latest round, Big Switch has now raised a total of $94 million.

Founded in 2010, Big Switch is one of a group of data center networking startups that emerged in recent years, positioning themselves as offering lower-cost alternatives to networking solutions traditionally offered by incumbents like Cisco, Juniper, Dell, and HP.

Read more: Brocade CEO: Specialized Data Center Network Gear on Its Way Out

These startups make network operating systems and network management software, referred to as software defined networking, which can be run on low-cost white-box switching hardware. At first, they generally target web-scale data center operators, companies that provide cloud infrastructure or applications and other web services that need highly agile, reconfigurable, and scalable data center networks.

Lately, however, like nearly all data center technology vendors, they have been focusing on the promising enterprise data center market.

Some of the incumbent vendors have introduced networking products that ship with software by these startups, seeking to address the same market segments.

Read more: Why Cisco is Warming to Non-ACI Data Center SDN

Big Switch claims it is in a period of extreme growth. The company said it grew more than 300 percent in 2015, successful with customers worldwide in tech, financial services, government, service providers, and higher education.

Switch doesn’t make a network OS like Cumulus Networks, another company in this new group of network vendors. Its products are Big Monitoring Fabric, a piece of network monitoring software, and Big Cloud Fabric, software that can be used to create massive-scale data center network fabrics on white-box or brite-box switches, managed by an SDN controller.

The company said its new round of funding will fuel further scaling, geographic expansion, and deepening its reach into markets already using the new style of data center networking.

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About the Author

San Francisco-based business and technology journalist. Editor in chief at Data Center Knowledge, covering the global data center industry.

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