SDN Startup Plexxi Cops $20.1 Million Round

Plexxi, a newer entrant in the fast-expanding field of software-defined networking (SDN) startups, on Friday confirmed a $20.1 million round of funding, bringing its total venture capital take to about $48.5 million.

Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Northbridge Venture Partners, all of which previously invested in Plexxi during its July 2011 Series B infusion, participated in the round. According to Plexxi, it will use the money to boost sales, marketing and "road map investments."

Plexxi, Cambridge, Mass., still hasn't revealed much about what exactly it's working on from a product perspective. But the company has continued to build buzz through a series of blog posts on its main Web site and through word-of-mouth discussions tied to the explosion of interest in SDN-focused companies.

[Related: 25 Software-Defined Networking Players to Know ]

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Earlier in June, Plexxi launched the first phase of a private beta program with select customers. In a June 19 blog post unveiling that program, Plexxi said it is working on "an integrated hardware/software offering that allows data center operators to build and manage a network from the perspective of the needs of the application or workloads."

Plexxi calls the approach "affinity-driven networking."

"We aim to resolve two major issues in the network -- network automation and network scale -- by leveraging the concept of affinities (the complete set of data center resources required to execute a given workload)," reads the blog post, written by Dave Husak, Plexxi CEO and founder.

There were no further details on Plexxi's sales strategy or customers.

The SDN strategies of major networking vendors such as Cisco and Hewlett-Packard have come into the spotlight thanks to the idea that SDN -- and more broadly speaking, network virtualization -- will make networks more programmable, more easily customized and create less of a demand for proprietary switching and routing technologies.

Big Switch Networks, Nicira, Adara and Embrane are among a slew of SDN startups in various stages of emerging from stealth mode and offering details on their go-to-market strategies.