Virtualization Startup Big Switch Networks Lands $13 Million in Funding

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

The company adds four directors to its board after securing $13.75 million in Series A financing.

Big Switch Networks, a new company building a platform to bring the benefits of virtualization and cloud architecture to enterprise networks, announced April 28 that it secured $13.75 million in a Series A financing, led by Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

Big Switch Networks also announced that it has joined the newly formed ONF, a nonprofit group focused on promoting OpenFlow and other Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies as a way to speed innovation in the networking industry. OpenFlow is a standard protocol that enables networks to evolve more rapidly by giving owners and operators better control over their networks and the ability to optimize network behavior.

With this infusion of capital, four new directors joined Big Switch Networks co-founders Guido Appenzeller, CEO, and Kyle Forster, vice president of sales and marketing, on the board. "Enterprise networking is exciting again. We're seeing new customer problems that aren't well addressed with traditional networking technologies and changes in the large IT suppliers that are creating opportunities for startups like Big Switch Networks," said Mike Volpi, partner at Index Ventures and former senior vice president and general manager of the routing technology group at Cisco.

The company believes network virtualization is defined by three fundamental principles: Hosts on the network see the virtual topology, not the underlying physical topology, application or department-level admins manage their virtual topology, not the underlying physical topology, and the central team can add capacity when needed by scaling out the underlying physical topology without impacting the virtual topologies on top.

"Traditional L2/L3 designs and industry-standard CLI have been the tools of this trade, and we believe they will continue to be the tools of this trade for a long time to come. Rather than creating a new paradigm, we believe that there is an opportunity to slip in a virtualization layer underneath," stated a blog post on the company’s Web site. "As new applications, new departments or new classes of traffic emerge, we believe that a networking team should have the choice of whether to manage that via the familiar tools of the underlying physical network or via those same familiar tools applied to a virtual network on top."