Please contact:
David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
or via email at:

SDN Startups: 10 Companies That Matter
Software-defined networking (SDN) is still very much in the process of being defined, both as a technology and a market.

From a technology perspective, SDN has been inextricably linked to the OpenFlow specification created at Stanford University in 2008 for separating control and data forwarding functions. Most SDN companies are quick to point out that OpenFlow does not equal SDN and vice versa.

From a market perspective, the notion of breaking data center operations away from the restraints of traditional network hardware is a powerful one, particularly as the data center market is booming on the bandwidth demands of Internet giants, the emergence of a new throng of cloud service providers and the desire of large carriers such as Verizon Communications to grow their data center footprints.

SDN has been called by some, without any note of hyperbole, the biggest transformation to hit the networking market in the last 30 years.

Of course, the existing crop of networking, computing and software companies will not let such a historical transformation opportunity pass them by. Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, VMware and every company you can think of involved in some aspect of data center architectures has announced or is developing their own foray into SDN.

The ensuing competitive environment could threaten the ability of some SDN startups to reach their goals. Meanwhile, as with many new technology sectors, a wave of market-transforming consolidation is inevitable. Many in the SDN sector in fact believe that it has already started, with last year's $1.2 billion acquisition of SDN startup Nicira by VMware. With that kind of price tag, some startups might not mind cashing in their independence.

The companies we have profiled here are not the only startups in the SDN sector, and are far from being the only companies targeting this opportunity. If SDN practices and technologies change things as dramatically as these vendors suggest, the next two years or so will see this sector evolve quickly from the proof-of-concept and company-building phases into a stage of intense competition and consolidation.

Most of the SDN startups have interesting ideas, some of them will mature to see those ideas come to fruition, and if SDN truly represents the next big step in evolving networking from a hardware-based sector into and software-driven discipline, one or two of them may even survive to find their names one day listed among the vendor elite-if they can take the heat.

SDN Startups: 10 Companies That Matter briefly discusses the SDN market and then profiles nine vendors. It profiles those companies, gauges their technology value and market prospects and assesses their potential to be acquired in the near future.
Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (hri1012_toc.pdf)
Companies discussed in this report include: Big Switch Networks Inc., ConteXtream Inc., Contrail Systems Inc., Embrane Inc., Midokura Co. Ltd., Plexxi Networks Inc., PLUMgrid Inc., vArmour Networks Inc., Vello Systems Inc. and Vyatta Inc.
Total pages: 14
To view reports you will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it, it can be obtained for free at the Adobe web site.