Pertino takes on $20M to build out wide-area networks through clouds

Software-defined-networking (SDN) player Pertino, whose software on public clouds enables wide-area networks (WAN) for users anywhere, has taken on $20 million in Series B funding, helping the company gear up to add more network services and customers.

Jafco Ventures led the funding round, while previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners also contributed. The company has now raised a total of $28.85 million.

Pertino has more than 700 customers. It has aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, and in time it will look to add enterprise customers, Pertino Co-founder and CEO Craig Elliott said.

The software lets customers easily spin networks up or down to meet operational needs, just as they can do with compute or storage power on Amazon (s aws) Web Services and other public clouds. Also, the virtualized networks can move around to other clouds Pertino runs, in case of a natural disaster. The virtual WAN is designed to be as secure as the local-area network (LAN) that employees use inside a single office.

Software-defined networking (SDN) remains hot. But it isn’t necessarily one big market. While Big Switch Networks, Embrane and Nicira target SDN deployments in the data center, Pertino works on servers elsewhere. That’s why Elliott said doesn’t believe Pertino will take away business from those other SDN businesses and vice-versa. However, all of those companies focus on separating the control plane and the data plane with software that precludes the need for appliances that take up space and require considerable capital expenditures.

Cisco (s csco), Juniper Networks (s jnpr) and other companies also are using SDN to optimize wide-area network (WAN) traffic, according to a GigaOM Research report (subscription required).

With plenty of SDN hype still hanging around, it’s not hard to imagine more companies jumping into the SDN-via-cloud market. But use cases are few and far between, and that could mean new entrants might have to wait before racking up a long list of production-scale clients. Pertino, meanwhile, could maintain its lead.