August 8, 2012

Virtual Network Startup PLUMgrid Earns $10.7 million

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

There seems to be some serious interest building for network virtualization startup PLUMgrid. The Sunnyvale company announced today that they have raised $10.7 million in Series A Funding from partners US Venture Partners and Hummer Winbald Venture Partners.

The idea of virtualized servers and server ecosystems is a blossoming one, one that is garnering some attention and plenty of cash. For example, it was announced just last week that VMWare intends to acquire virtual networking company Nicira for $1.3 billion. Oracle also recently made a similar acquisition in Xsigo Systems, though financial figures weren´t released.

According to their press release, PLUMgrid´s CEO Awais Nemat founded the company almost 2 years ago and has assembled a team who has worked with some other network heavy hitters, such as Cisco, the aforementioned Nicira, SUN and VMware.

“Network virtualization and the move to software-defined network (SDN) is a strategically important focus area for the networking industry,” said Nemat in the PLUMgrid´s press release.

“PLUMgrid was started nearly two years ago with a vision of providing a better way for customers to address new networking application needs and reduce excessive costs and complexity. This $10.7 million financing round provides the resources for PLUMgrid to realize this vision and deliver a comprehensive SDN to our customers.”

While there is some clear interest in these SDN solutions, PLUMgrid has yet to reveal any actual product offerings. The company has only said they are trying to improve SDN, but in what way they will do so is yet to be seen.

Speaking with VentureBeat, Nemat has said SDN is still in its early days, and though competitor Nicira has recently been cast in the spotlight in the virtual networking industry, Nemat seems confident that his company will be able to bring a product to market and have it integrated before VMware´s newest acquisition.

Nemat said his company plans to have something ready for the market by the “end of this year or early next year,” though he wouldn´t offer any details about potential customers.

“There is a monumental shift coming in networking infrastructure,” said Nemat, speaking to All Things D.

“Networking functions that used to require a dedicated box we do in software running on standard software, running on standard silicon.”

We see a new kind of customer emerging, one whose demands and needs are not being satisfied by the traditional network infrastructure vendors.”

Nemat is no stranger to this market, of course. He spent some time at Cisco before he went out on his own to run D5 Networking, a company which built chips to be used in networking security. D5 was acquired by Marvell in 2006, and Nemat remained with the company until he went out once more on his own to start PLUMgrid.

Last year, PLUMgrid managed to raise $2.05 million in stealth funds from USVP. Taking their commitment one step further, one of USVP´s partners, Chris Rust has also recently joined PLUMgrid´s board, according to VentureBeat. Today, Hummer Winbald´s managing director Lars Leckie will join Rust and the other members of the PLUMgrid board as they move forward in bringing their SDN solution to market.