Summary:

Intel’s funding of Big Switch Networks indicates that the commoditization of networking hardware is a few steps closer.

Big Switch Networks CEO Guido Appenzeller
photo: Big Switch Networks

This story was corrected Friday at 8:57 AM PT with the correct amount of funding from Intel.

Big Switch Networks, an early player in software-defined networking (SDN), has secured $6.5 million in a follow-on round to his Series B venture funding from Intel Capital. It plans to use the money to add employees and clients and develop more products.

The new capital raise brings the total funding pool to more than $45 million, according to a news release. Previous backers include Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

The new funding points suggests that the commoditization of network hardware, which my colleague Stacey Higginbotham forecasted last week, is a few steps closer, and that Intel hopes efforts from big companies such as Cisco to tamp down the OpenFlow networking protocol are futile.

Instead Intel can take advantage of the commodification of networking gear and find a new market for chips, such as the ones designed by Fulcrum, which Intel purchased in 2011.

In November Big Switch started shipping its first products: an OpenFlow controller called the Big Network Controller; the Big Tap unified network-monitoring application; and the Big Virtual Switch, a network-virtualization application.

Intel Capital’s investment in Big Switch and Intel reflects a strategic partnership between the companies, as Intel is “really interested in getting back into the game,” said Guido Appenzeller, CEO and a founder of Big Switch, based in Mountain View, Calif.

With no shortage of buzz, the SDN field continues to be in flux. Last April Google disclosed that it has been testing out OpenFlow to lower the cost of communications among company data centers. And VMware’s $1.26 billion acquisition of Nicira and other deals brought on more interest in SDN. But use cases are still hard to come by. Perhaps that will change soon, now that more companies could try out Big Switch in the coming months.

Comments have been disabled for this post