2017 Data Center 100: 20 Software-Defined Data Center Providers

Software-Defined Data Center Providers

Server, storage and networking gear used to be the heart of the data center, but that heart is slowly being torn out as new software technology allows traditional proprietary hardware solutions to move to commodity x86 servers. Virtualization consolidates applications onto fewer servers, but software-defined goes further by consolidating the actual data center hardware onto those servers.

Here's a look at the software-defined data center providers on this year's Data Center 100 list.

AVI Networks

Amit Pandey, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

The AVI Vantage Platform separates the control plane for central management from the data plane of distributed load balancers. It provides scalable application-centric services in SDN, OpenStack, VMware, container, bare metal or public cloud environments.

Big Switch Networks

Douglas Murray, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

The Big Cloud Fabric is a leaf/spine SDN fabric supporting open networking switches. In OpenStack environments, it provides a single pane of glass for network provisioning, troubleshooting, visibility and analytics.

Citrix Systems

Kirill Tatarinov, President, CEO

Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Citrix provides virtualization and cloud technologies including application and desktop virtualization, enterprise mobility management, file sync and share and cloud services.


Kumar Ramachandran, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

CloudGenix is the developer of CloudGenix ION, a lightweight instant-on software-defined WAN that reduces costs and increases elasticity while offering vendor independence.

Coho Data

Ramana Jonnala, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

The Coho DataStream Architecture is a scale-out storage architecture for private clouds that offers high performance and simplified management at public cloud capacity pricing.


Marc Fleischmann, CEO

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.

Datera last year exited stealth mode with $40 million in the bank and technology ready to provide elastic block storage for private cloud infrastructures. The company's software works across any x86 server, or can be purchased as part of a complete all-flash or hybrid-flash appliance.

DataCore Software

George Teixeira, President, CEO

Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

DataCore develops the SANsymphony family of software-defined storage and virtual SAN offerings for scaling storage architectures for clients using industry-standard server hardware.


Ben Golub, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

The open-source Docker platform allows an application to be created and run as a collection of Docker containers working across nearly any infrastructure. The company in 2016 inked a deal with Microsoft to extend Docker Engine and Docker Datacenter benefits to Windows Server customers.

Formation Data

Mark Lewis, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Fremont, Calif.

Formation Data's FormationOne is a hyper-scale, dynamic storage platform for enterprises that virtualizes data, hardware and infrastructure across standard x86 server hardware.


Avinash Lakshman, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Hedvig's software-defined storage solution reduces enterprise storage costs while helping IT departments migrate applications to the cloud.


Satya Nadella, CEO

Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft is moving toward helping customers implement a complete software-defined data center and connecting to the Azure cloud with its Hyper-V compute virtualization, Storage Spaces Direct and SDN technology as part of its Windows Server 2016 OS.


Antonio Espinosa, President, CEO

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

The Midokura Enterprise MidoNet network virtualization platform provides OpenStack multicloud connectivity, tracing of current and historical network traffic flows, visibility into network consumption ranked by highest tenant usage and more.

Nexenta Systems

Tarkan Maner, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Nexenta's NexentaStor provides unified block and object storage that scales to petabytes of data, while NexentaEdge provides petabyte-scale block and storage capabilities on OpenStack clouds.

Nuage Networks

Sunil Khandekar, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Nuage Networks, which became part of Nokia with its acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, provides vendor-neutral SDN and software-defined WAN offerings that help bring together cloud networks.


Rich Napolitano, CEO

Headquarters: Nashua, N.H.

Plexxi develops SDN software that configures a network for converged or hyper-converged infrastructures based on application requirements.

Primary Data

Lance Smith, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Los Altos, Calif.

Primary Data's DataSphere platform delivers dynamic data mobility through data virtualization. It creates a virtualized global dataspace featuring an intelligent policy engine that automatically places data across file, block and object storage according to IT-defined service level objectives.

Red Hat

James Whitehurst, President, CEO

Headquarters: Raleigh, N.C.

Red Hat provides a strong open-source counterpoint with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux for moving data centers to the hybrid cloud along with its Gluster and Ceph software-defined storage technologies.


Sanjay Uppal, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

VeloCloud, in which Cisco is an investor, provides a cloud network for enterprise-grade connection to cloud and enterprise applications, software-defined control and automation, and virtual services delivery.


Praveen Akkiraju, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Viptela provides software-defined WAN technology to several Fortune 500 firms and to carriers like Verizon. Among its offerings are the vSmart Cloud-based SDN-WAN Controller to centrally manage routing, policy, security, segmentation and authentication.


Pat Gelsinger, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

VMware has the most complete software-defined data center lineup due not only to vSphere, vSAN and NSX but also to its ability to integrate them into a complete offering.