Big Switch Turns On an Entire Industry, Emerges from Stealth with $40M in the Bank

Big Switch is an software-defined networking (SDN) startup with plenty of credentials. The company was co-founded in 2010 by Cisco veteran Kyle Forster and Guido Appenzeller, the Stanford researcher who led the development of the OpenFlow standard.  Big Switch raised nearly $40 million in venture capital to date, from investors including Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, and Khosla Ventures, and it finally made its debut today.

Big Switch exited stealth today with the official launch of their Big Switch Product Suite whose goal is to virtualize the network with an Open SDN with the slogan apps, apps, and more apps.

If you want to “Geek Out” go to this awesome blog post by Brent Salisbury for more detailed data on the launch by NetworkStatic.net.

Today BigSwitch announced it’s first product line that is generally available. For those unaware, BigSwitch Networks is a VC whose heritage was deeply seeded by researchers and PHD’s from Stanford, UC-Berkeley along with, product managers and executives from traditional networking companies.

BigSwitch’s largest contribution to the community and that is the open source OpenFlow controller FloodLight. Just as Nicira who was recently acquired by VMWare open sourced their vSwitch Open vSwitch, BigSwitch did the same with FloodLight. In the spirit of enabling horizontalization these projects allow researchers, consumers and even competitors to leverage R&D from these startups. We have enough concepts to keep us going for the foreseeable future, it is time to start executing them as more products continue to emerge.

Product Announcement:

Big Switch Product Suite 

The Big Network Controller serves as the network application platform powering two other products Big Tap and Big Virtual Switch.  These three elements account for the  startup’s new Big Switch Product Suite Big Tap is a monitoring tool while the Big Virtual Switch is being pegged as a virtualization layer that does for the networking space what VMware did for servers.  Appenzeller, who serves as his company’s CEO, elaborated in a statement:

“Big Switch Networks ecosystem ensures customers the broadest range of choice in physical and virtual infrastructure and applications, coupled with the industry’s only open network application platform,” Appenzeller said. “Our Big Virtual Switch network virtualization application enables up to 50% more VMs per rack, resulting in as much as $500K/rack in CAPEX savings and $30K/rack/year OPEX savings, based on a 40 server rack.”

The entire Big Switch line-up is based on open networks, but the amount of support the startup managed to garner is even more noteworthy. The company’s ecosystem consists of over two dozen big name vendors including Arista Networks, Broadcom, Brocade, Juniper and Palo Alto Networks as well as Microsoft and Dell. Surprisingly there is no mention of Cisco, which has been slow to adopt SDN in spite of an apparent effort to jump on the bandwagon.

My ANGLE – A Networking Renaissance 

We are seeing the beginning of a networking renaissance or a innovation boom in the networking space.  This launch represents Big Switch’s “big splash” in the market after Nicira exited the market at $1b to VMware.   Big Switch is setup to be “gold plated” venture and this is the first step for them to get a market position. Big Switch hopes to lead the emerging and lucrative software defined networking (SDN) category.  Big Switch has sorted out their financing partners and are fully funded with a great management team.  Simply put:  they are “geared up” and ready to go full tilt.

Big Switch doesn’t have many customers yet, but based upon their recent traction with some big not yet announced enterprise customers they should do great. I’m expecting them to move fast and buildup their product and solutions and get them into the market as fast as possible.  In the industry they call this a “greenfield” opportunity. We will be tracking them closely.

The goal of Big Switch is to be open on the platform and differentiate on their unique product suite.   The question is “is the networking renaissance” real?  Either way the overall the industry valuations are rising as a result.

Here is the CrowdANGLE on Twitter from some of our fav tweets.


About John Furrier

Founder and CEO of SiliconAngle.com.