Pluribus Networks gets $50M to route traffic in the data center

Pluribus Networks, a software-defined networking (SDN) startup, wants to make a case for virtualizing the functions of the switch, and it landed a $50 million series D investment round to help do so, the company said Wednesday. The startup now has $95 million in total funding.

At the core of Pluribus Networks’s technology is its network hypervisor called Netvisor, which acts as a distributed operating system that spans multiple switches throughout the data center. With Netvisor installed in a company’s data center, users can coordinate network traffic by using Netvisor to tether together all of the switch hardware devices and enable the switches to be understood as one big device.

“Every switch literally shares the state and configuration with each other,” said Pluribus Networks founder and CTO Sunay Tripathi.

It’s sort of parallel to what some software defined storage startups like Primary Data are doing. Many of these startups tout technology that links the various storage arrays in a data center so they can be read as one big device that can be configured to better accommodate the needs of an application.

Tripathi said that his startup is different from other SDN startups and those who follow the OpenFlow SDN standard in that while these entities have followed the promise of SDN by “separating the data plane from the control plane,” Pluribus Networks believes that the centralized SDN controller should not be separate from the switch, explained Tripathi.

Pluribus Networks diagram

Pluribus Networks diagram

OpenStack users should be able to connect the OpenStack controller with the Netvisor hypervisor so that when the OpenStack controller calls for the overall system to create a virtual load balancer or similar virtual appliance, “all of that gets extenuated on the switch hypervisors,” he said.

Pluribus Networks also sells hardware appliances in addition to its network hypervisor, but it derives a significant portion of its revenue from the applications it sells on top of its hypervisor that gives users analytics, security and monitoring capabilities through all the networking information that the hypervisor captures.

“These are areas where people don’t mind paying good money,” Tripathi said.

The Palo Alto startups counts [company]Tibco[/company], CloudFlare and Lucera as customers.

Temasek Holdings, a Singapore-based investment company, drove this new founding round along with Ericsson and Newtech along with previous investors New Enterprise Associates, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures.