9 Hot Network Virtualization, SDN and Data Center Startups

Startups HotLink, Plexxi, Pluribus and others strut their stuff.

Our latest list of companies to watch profiles 10 firms that are on the leading edge of next-generation networking and data center technology. In this slideshow, we highlight products from those that have started to sell their wares or have given a sneak peek.

Related: 10 of the hottest data center and networking companies worth watching

Cloud computing companies to watch: A product sampler

HotLink SuperVISOR and HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter
HotLink SuperVISOR and HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter

VMware sits atop the hypervisor market, but alternatives such as Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM and Xen are gaining market share. Managing a multi-hypervisor environment can be difficult though. Startup HotLink has a vCenter plugin that allows it to not only deploy resources to other hypervisors, and even Amazon’s cloud, but also migrate workloads between those resources. A free version of HotLink SuperVISOR supports three hosts and 15 virtual machines; the licensed version’s price is based on number of servers and virtual machines under management. Starter bundle starts at $26,700.

Lyatiss CloudWeaver
Lyatiss CloudWeaver

All the buzz around software-defined networking has thus far focused on the advantages network virtualization can bring to data centers. But Lyatiss says all that discussion is missing the point. The key, this company says, is having a network that can respond to the needs of the applications. Lyatiss’s CloudWeaver analyzes what networking resources an application needs and provisions the network accordingly. A beta version is available free; general availability pricing has not yet been released.

MidoNet by Midokura
MidoNet by Midokura

Midokura has built a network operating system, MidoNet, that creates a distributed networking plane to control switches. The key, its founders say, is the software’s ability to capture traffic at the edge of the network, then route it to its destination in the most efficient path possible through the switches it controls. Pricing and general availability are expected to be announced in the first half of 2013.

Nutanix Compute Cluster
Nutanix Compute Cluster

One of the major trends in 21st century data centers is the idea of converged infrastructure: One box that has compute, networking and storage baked in. That’s exactly what Nutanix provides through its combined hardware and software of 2U rack-mount appliance boxes that can be deployed and running within 30 minutes. Prices range from $120,000 to $144,000 for four-node blocks.

Pica8’s OpenFlow/ OVS Switch
Pica8’s OpenFlow/ OVS Switch

The world of SDNs is new and very confusing. Pica8 wants to simplify it. The company has created a series of reference architectures showing how its network operating system can be installed with commodity network hardware to achieve a virtual networking environment. Components range from $3,900 to $19,000.

Plexxi Switch and to an SDN is to have the applications control the network
Plexxi Switch and to an SDN is to have the applications control the network

Plexxi has a combined software and hardware product that monitors the network requirements of programs and controls integrated network hardware components to the exact specifications of the applications, along with an algorithm that predicts future network needs. Plexxi’s integrated hardware-software set is listed at $64,000, which includes all inter-switch optics and cabling, while the Plexxi Control software is $5,000 per switch.

Pluribus Networks’ Netvisor
Pluribus Networks’ Netvisor

Pluribus has created an operating system that works directly with network hardware chips to create a networking plane. By having an underlying control plane integrated at the chip level, Netvisor can program each of the hardware components within the network. Pricing is not yet available.

SimpliVity OmniCube
SimpliVity OmniCube

OmniCube is more than just a piece of converged hardware – it’s a data center in a box, the company says. In addition to supporting compute, storage and networking functions, OmniCubes also have baked in WAN optimization, unified global management, storage deduplication, caching, and the ability to globally scale out, all while managing a geographically federated deployment of OmniCubes in a single console. They’re in limited availability and pricing will be announced when the product is officially announced later this year.

TransLattice Elastic Database (TED)
TransLattice Elastic Database (TED)

Databases are an integral part of businesses today, but having geographically distributed databases that are constantly in synch across offices around the world is not easy. TransLattice eases that process by providing a relational database management platform that is run across multiple public cloud providers to ensure resiliency and availability, all while allowing workers from around the globe to work off of one common database. Prices vary depending on individual customers, but range from five to six figures.