UPDATE: PLUMgrid won the SDN hot startup competition by a fairly wide margin, garnering almost 30 percent of the vote. Jeda Networks finished a strong second, with 20 percent. The surprise is how well the OpenDaylight Project did, since, technically, it's not really a startup, but a standards body whose goal is to create open-source SDN standards. We included OpenDaylight because it could play a leading role in how SDN matures, but grabbing 11 percent of the vote total to finish third is impressive. Embrane and Metacloud round out the top five.
Final Votes (by Percentage)
Software Defined Networking (SDN) startups are being snatched up, one by one, by incumbent networking vendors who fear turning into dinosaurs as the software-defined data center evolves from Utopian fever dream to reality. Nicira, Vyatta, Cariden and Contrail have already been acquired by VMware, Brocade, Cisco and Juniper, respectively.
Meanwhile, mainstream vendors such as IBM and HP have rolled out their own SDN products.
According to IDC, the SDN market will reach $3.7 billion by 2016. SDN products may still be immature, but there is a ton of forward momentum. Here are nine startups (and an important new standards body) that intend to push SDN into the mainstream.