Welcome!

Eclipse Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, JP Morgenthal

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)

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...