Cool Startup: Big Switch Networks

Big Switch Networks (“BSN”) is an SDN start-up that is aiming to disrupt the networking industry with its hyperscale networking solutions. They started in 2010 and have raised $44M in VC from the likes of Khosla Ventures. The up-and-comer offers “Commoditized Bare Metal Ethernet Switches and SDN Controller Software” for data center networks. The SDN Controller is the brains of the three tier SDN Framework that abstracts the intelligence from the Cisco/Juniper ASIC-based routers, and acts as a middle tier sending/receiving instructions to/from the application (northbound) layer and hardware (southbound) layer. In 2013, BSN pivoted from a software only SDN solution to an SDN + Bare Metal Hardware Switch solution. Having that hardware piece in there was critical to their success just like it was for Arista Networks.

Company Background

  • Company: Big Switch Networks
  • Started: 2010
  • Raised: $44.7M
  • HQ: Santa Clara
  • LinkedIn Employee Count: 80
  • VCs: Khosla Ventures, Index Ventures, Greylock Ventures & others
  • Leadership: Douglas Murray (CEO), Kyle Forster (Cofounder) and Rob Sherwood (CTO)
  • Product: Hyperscale Networking Solutions consisting of Commoditized Bare Metal Ethernet Switches and SDN Controller Software for data center networks and monitoring network fabrics
  • Customers: Goldman Sachs and Fidelity

The SDN market is game changer that’s going to disrupt the billion dollar networking industry, and the traditional router/switch manufacturers are nervous. Previously, BSN was an active participant in the open source SDN project called OpenDaylight, however, there was a falling out with some of the members of the project, namely Cisco, so they bailed. After that, Big Switch Networks joined the competing open source SDN project called Project Floodlight. Kyle Forster, Cofounder of BSN indicated that the controller software selected for OpenDaylight “was two years behind” their own product. Big Switch Networks is a pioneer in the SDN space, and it will interesting to see how SDN impacts the CDN space in the coming year.

Benefits and Features

  • BSN network architecture scales and supports multitenancy
  • BSN supports OpenStack cloud
  • BSN products are 50% to 60% cheaper than incumbent vendor products
  • Big Cloud Fabric: Bundle of Bare Metal Ethernet Switch and SDN Controller Software built into a fabric that’s optimized for core-and-POD designs
  • Big Tap Monitoring Fabric: Tool that helps with troubleshooting, security, compliance and monitoring
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