Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, John Mertic, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions 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. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
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.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Streamlyzer 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. Streamlyzer is a powerful analytics for video streaming service that enables video streaming providers to monitor and analyze QoE (Quality-of-Experience) from end-user devices in real time.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.