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HPE to Acquire Data Center SDN Startup Plexxi

Plans to integrate SDN fabric with hyperconverged and composable infrastructure products

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has agreed to buy a data center SDN startup called Plexxi, whose software-defined networking technology it plans to integrate with its SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure and with its composable infrastructure called Synergy.

The eight-year-old Nashua, New Hampshire-based company’s network fabric automates network management using software much like hyperconverged infrastructure automates the management of storage and compute resources. In fact, Plexxi has an integration partnership with HPE’s biggest rival in the hyperconverged market: Nutanix.

Nutanix announced the addition of its own SDN to its software stack just last week. Whether the timing of that announcement, made at Nutanix’s .Next conference in New Orleans, was selected to pre-empt the announcement of the Plexxi acquisition or purely coincidental is unclear.

Like Nutanix and other players in the space (such as VMware, with whom Plexxi also has an integration partnership), HPE is also looking beyond on-premises deployments of hyperconverged infrastructure. A big part of the rationale for acquiring Plexxi is to gain new hybrid-cloud capabilities; the startup’s fabric works across private, public, and hybrid cloud environments.

Plexxi has designed a “next-generation data network fabric that can create or re-balance bandwidth to workload needs,” Ric Lewis, senior VP and general manager of HPE’s software-defined and cloud group, wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. HPE expects to close the transaction in its third fiscal quarter, which ends July 31.

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