Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, John Basso, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Eclipse, @CloudExpo

Eclipse: Article

Cloud-Oriented Switch Start-up Valued at $230M

The valuation was five times what the company was worth at the time of its $30 million A round in early ’06

Like any pleased-with-herself three-and-a-half-year-old showing off her lace panties, start-up switch house Blade Network Technologies was flaunting its heady $230 million valuation Wednesday after closing a $10 million B round.

The largely institutional round – and let’s remember traditional VCs are ducking down any convenient rat hole these days – was led by NEC with help from Blade OEM Juniper Networks, existing Blade backer Garnett & Helfrich Capital – ex-Oracle lieutenant Terry Garnett’s venture buyout operation – and a mysterious silent investor, reportedly a big tech company that doesn’t want people to know where its money is going.

How utterly beguiling. A veiled lady in a little black dress.

The valuation was five times what the company was worth at the time of its $30 million A round in early’06.

Blade claims to leads the data center revolution for high-speed, cloud-ready networking, a proposition that, say, oh, Cisco might take exception to, but then Blade would retort that it holds a commanding 48% market share lead over Cisco in blade server networking, which, as you can guess from its name, is its specialty.

It all depends on how thin you slice the pie and if that particular slice is the only one that’s hot.

Blade is supposed to use the money to develop stuff like a 64-port 10G top-of-rack switch and software as well as for global sales and marketing for its continuing assault on Cisco.

Not that it seems to need much help. A pre-collapse Nortel Networks spin-out, Blade says that despite the economic maelstrom that took the wind out of Cisco’s sails it had a record quarter ending July 31 with revenues up over 30% when shipped its six-millionth Ethernet switch port. It claims 300 of the Fortune 500 as customers.

It claims it’s profitable and will do $100 million the next 12 months.

Of course it helps that it sells through HP and IBM – which between them own the blade market – as well NEC and Verari Systems, some of the folks Cisco alienated with its Unified Computing server thrust. Any of these boys could, of course, be Blade’s mystery investor.

Blade’s got what it calls Cloud-Ready Network Architecture solutions aimed at next-generation data centers where virtual machine awareness, ultra-high performance, extremely low latency, simplified management, lower cost and energy efficiency are key.

Its gigE switches for blade servers support multi-vendor, virtualized data center environments, promising performance coupled with lower TCO.

The trick is in the software in both its embedded and top-of-rack switches. Blade recently broke new ground with the industry’s first 1,000 port Ethernet VMready switch and the first FCoE-ready blade server switch. It’s also championed a concept called “Rackonomics,” a way of scaling data centers by duplicating racks of servers and disk drives with connectivity through its switches, your basic rack-to-go.

A few days ago Blade announced that its 1,000 virtual port VMready switch-resident software is available for HP’s BladeSystems and HP’s 1:10Gb Ethernet BL-c switch. It’s already available on IBM’s 1/10Gb Ethernet Switch Module.

The widgetry is supposed to enable virtualization across the data center infrastructure rather than just the individual servers – a technique that’s supposed to be good for energy efficiency, business continuity, productivity and resource utilization.

Being VM-aware, virtual machines can be added, subtracted and moved around, as VM are wont to do, without losing their ACLs, QoS and VLAN attributes.

According to Blade, which maintains that traditional switches are blind to VM-specific traffic, “In today’s bandwidth-intensive virtualization infrastructures, network policies must move along with virtual machines to maintain application performance, availability and security.”

VMready is supposed to manage and measure VM traffic and assign network parameters per VM, as well as maintain consistent network settings during VM migrations, allowing for workload balancing and HA failover.

Nothing changes on the server since it runs on the switch, leaving more CPU oomph for the virtual machines, and it’s all automatic.

Blade claims other advantages over both its Cisco and Arista rivals.

Unlike, say, Cisco’s Nexus 1000V software switch, its widgetry works with all the hypervisors, VMware ESX 3.x and vSphere, Microsoft, Xen, KVM and OracleVM. It says it doesn’t entail complex changes to the hypervisor, it’s standards-based, not a lock-in, it’s simpler and offers more performance and scalability. And it’s way cheaper, anywhere from $160k-$500k less than Cisco for a rack of blade servers with 128 CPU sockets running vSphere Enterprise.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
nealmueller 09/11/09 09:59:00 PM EDT

Amusing article Maureen as always. Hope you don't mind if I step in to adjust some of the 1000V-related items.

The Nexus 1000V is VMware Ready Certified and uses the VMware's existing vDS API (no complex changes). This was always the case.

The Nexus 1000V works with all upstream switches and with all servers that work with vSphere (no lock-in). This is common knowledge by now.

Intel worked with Cisco to co-produce a benchmark study showing that the Intel VMDQ NIC performed at 10GE line rates with and without the Cisco Nexus 1000V (no performance decrease). This PDF study is available on google, search for it.

The Nexus 1000V is available for free evaluation here.

Thank you Maureen for your coverage.

Neal Mueller, Cisco
Nexus 1000V Product Manager

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...