Cisco Targets HP, Other SDN/NFV Rivals With Investment In 6Wind

Cisco is looking to a small French company for arms in its fight versus archrival Hewlett-Packard for SDN and NFV market domination.

6Wind, a Paris-based developer of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technology, said Monday that it has received an investment from San Jose, Calif.-based networking leader Cisco.

A 6Wind spokesperson told CRN via email that the company is not disclosing the amount of Cisco's investment, while Cisco was unable to respond to further inquiries before publication.

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6Wind, which first started shipping solutions in 2007, develops software that adds SDN and NFV capabilities to industry-standard server hardware without the need for a customer to change its existing software infrastructure.

6Wind's primary solution is 6WindGate, a packet processing software application for building networking solutions that the company claims increases performance in Linux-based environments by 100 percent to 400 percent compared with standard Linux.

6WindGate is also at the base of 6Wind Virtual Accelerator, which the company says accelerates virtual networking infrastructure, and 6Wind Turbo Router and 6Wind Turbo IPsec, software appliances for bare metal or virtual machine environments.

6Wind target customers include service providers, cloud and content providers, and enterprises looking to evolve their networks and seamlessly progress from dedicated hardware to bare metal and virtualized architectures.

The investment in 6Wind comes as expectations for growth in SDN and NFV technology are skyrocketing.

Networking analyst firm Infonetics in November reported it expects the global carrier SDN and NFV markets to grow to more than $11 billion in 2018, up from less than $500 million in 2013.

HP in May acquired SDN and NFV technology developer ConteXtream for an undisclosed sum, a move the company said will accelerate its business in this part of the networking market.

The move came after HP early last year launched HP OpenNFV, its open-standards-based telcos service provider reference architecture backed up with the launch of a number of HP OpenNFV labs and an extensive partnering effort to support NFV applications and services.

6Wind's networking software makes possible a new range of NFV and SDN use cases, said Frederic Rombaut, international head of Cisco M&A and investments, in a statement.

"6Wind's fast growing number of design wins with key market players, including Cisco, exemplifies its strong added value for the telecom and networking industry," Rombaut said in the statement.

For 6Wind, the investment is a way to advance its technology innovation and growth to accelerate networking and telecom industry transformations, said CEO and founder Eric Carmes in a statement.

"We are proud to have Cisco, the largest networking company in the world, as an investor, which is a testament to the critical technology 6Wind provides to enable the transition to NFV and SDN," Carmes said in the statement.