BTI Systems, a company that has been selling networking gear to telcos for more than a decade, has scored $10 million in third round funding, bring its total capital raised since 2011 to $33 million. The Series C funding was led by Bain Capital Ventures and included existing investors BDC, Covington Capital and GrowthWorks.
The company has been providing wide area networking optimization products for telecommunications companies, optical gear and variety of other products in its 13-year history, but in conjunction with its funding it has launched a software-defined networking product designed to connect multiple data centers. In much the same vein of Google connecting its data centers using OpenFlow, or firms like NTT or Calligo connecting their data centers using Nicira’s software, BTI hopes to also help network providers make multiple data centers look and behave more like one.
BTI is offering a chassis-based product (it’s a big box) that customers put in their data centers network and connect via fiber to other BTI boxes in other data centers. BTI expects to announce customers using the product in the second quarter of 2013. The idea behind layering a software defined network between data centers is that it gives operators granular control on how they can route traffic between data centers based on customers and their service level agreements, but it can also lower costs associated with networking.
The promise BTI offers is that operators might not have to over provision to the extent they do today, because they can better manage their traffic and charge for bandwidth based on need. If packets don’t need to travel during peaks times, then the operator has the ability now to use pricing or service level agreements to move a customer’s traffic to less congested periods. To be clear, these customers are not consumers, but corporations that are buying bandwidth.
The vision here is for a telco-grade SDN offering for service providers and big content companies that own their own networks, but that don’t have the engineering talent or the interest in building their own boxes and code to do this. Despite the excitement around SDN inside the data center, using some type of software defined networking between data centers is actually gaining adherents just as quickly — if not more quickly.