5. Network Virtualization Takes Center Stage
VMware in April began flirting with software-defined networking -- a.k.a. network virtualization -- by sponsoring the Open Networking Research Center. In July, VMware dove into the market whole hog with its blockbuster $1.2 billion acquisition of Nicira, which invented the SDN enabling protocol OpenFlow.
Cisco, meanwhile, confirmed long running rumors of its investment in SDN startup Insiemi. "About a year ago we began to see an opportunity in a market around programmability and application-aware networks and networks aware of applications," CEO John Chambers (pictured) said in April. "That will come out in multiple forms."
In November, Brocade acquired startup Vyatta, which has an open source approach to SDN, in an all-cash transaction aimed at bolstering its own investments in Ethernet fabrics and SDN.