Intel Capital Joins Big Switch Funding Round


Big Switch Networks, the software-defined networking startup that came out of stealth mode last year, has a new investor in its Series B round of venture capital funding: Intel Capital.

The venture arm of the world’s biggest chip company joins other investors — including Goldman Sachs, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Redpoint Ventures — and brings the total amount of capital raised to $45 million.

Remember, software-defined networking (SDN) aims to do to networking gear what virtualization companies like VMware have done to servers. In the same way that one server can be virtualized into many, all with different configurations, the point of SDN is to make networks as easy to spin up, configure and expand as virtual servers in the cloud, all of it done via software. VMware, for its part, is in the game via its purchase last year of Nicira, the first SDN company I ever heard of.

The idea is considered a metaphysical threat to established networking companies, specifically Cisco Systems; analysts, specifically J.P. Morgan’s Rod Hall, have worried that Cisco isn’t ready to meet the threat.

I had a quick chat with Guido Appenzeller (that’s him in the photo above, at the left of president and co-founder Kyle Forster), and he said that Intel, which does make some specialized networking chips, sees some alignment of interest with Big Switch in the future of SDN.

As I noted before, Big Switch’s approach has a lot of industry support. Its partners include Juniper Networks, Citrix, F5, Dell, Microsoft and Palo Alto Networks.

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