2018 Data Center 100: 20 Software-Defined Data Center Providers

Software-Defined Data Center Providers

The software-de­fined data center is the next evolution for infrastructure and automation with promises of lower costs, greater agility and increased scalability.

Rather than a hardware-centric approach to server, storage and networking, market leaders are turning to software and cloud-like consumption models to meet today's demands.

Bene­fits to implementing a software-de­fined data center strategy include simpli­fied management under a single platform, reducing the need for specialized components, and the automation of resource provisioning and management.

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

128 Technology

Andy Ory, CEO

Headquarters: Boston

The startup's 128T Networking Platform is a software-based, distributed routing and network services offering that uses secure routing to simplify network architectures while providing end-to-end control and visibility without disrupting existing infrastructure.


Mansour Karam, CEO

Headquarters: Menlo Park, Calif.

A pioneer in intent-based networking, Apstra is striving to revolutionize the data center through its vendor-agnostic operating system that can collect data from any switch or server, as well as cut outage and failure durations in half.

Avi Networks

Amit Pandey, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

The Avi Vantage Planform takes a software approach to application delivery with elastic and programmable application services on standard x86 servers. It also offers load balancing, application acceleration, performance monitoring and container networking services.

Big Switch Networks

Douglas Murray, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Big Switch Networks offers an open SDN platform that embraces industry standards, open APIs and open source. Its Big Cloud Fabric switching fabric delivers network automation and visibility for cloud-native applications.

Citrix Systems

David Henshall, President, CEO

Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The global software vendor provides server, application and desktop virtualization, along with networking, SaaS and cloud computing technologies.


Kumar Ramachandran, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

The SD-WAN startup offers its Instant-On Networks product suite that delivers an application-defined fabric that eliminates the need for hardware routers. Ramachandran founded CloudGenix in 2013 after years as a top networking executive at Cisco.

DataCore Software

George Teixeira, President, CEO

Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

DataCore's SANsymphony software-defined storage and hyper-converged virtual SAN product lines help customers better manage and scale storage infrastructure.


Marc Fleischmann, CEO

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.

Datera provides AWS-like elastic block storage for the most demanding virtualized environments as well as container data services. The company offers a single storage platform with a mix and match of hybrid and all-fl ash nodes.


Steve Singh, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

A leader in the container market, Docker's open-source platform builds, secures and manages a wide array of applications from development to production for both onpremises and in the cloud. Last year, Docker unveiled native support for Kubernetes.

Forward Networks

David Erickson, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

Forward Networks, an intent-based networking software startup, allows customers to search, verify and predict network behavior by providing a software copy of their networks that customers can use to run tests before implementing changes into production.


Avinash Lakshman, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Hedvig's software-defined storage products provide an always-on data fabric for VMs, containers and backups. Its distributed storage platform is a unified offering for block, file and object storage with support for an OS, hypervisor or container.


Satya Nadella, CEO

Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.

The software giant saw Dell EMC, Lenovo and HPE create offerings in 2017 based on its Azure Stack. Microsoft continues to help move customers toward a complete software-defined data center with its compute virtualization, storage and SDN offerings.

Nexenta Systems

Tarkan Maner, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Nexenta's NexentaStor delivers unified file and block storage services on industry-standard hardware supporting all-flash, hybrid and all-disk. The company raised $20 million in November.

Nuage Networks

Sunil Khandekar, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Nuage Networks delivers policy-based automation across the network to optimize data centers and the cloud, along with the ability to automate security policies and remediation. The company's vendor-neutral offerings help bridge together cloud networks.


Rich Napolitano, CEO

Headquarters: Nashua, N.H.

Plexxi is a pioneer in converged network infrastructure for public and private cloud deployments. It provides a programmable and application-aware fabric that delivers an elastic pool of network resources.

Red Hat

James Whitehurst, President, CEO

Headquarters: Raleigh, N.C.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for virtual data centers enables the deployment of unlimited guests in dense virtualized environments on supported hypervisors. Red Hat also provides software-defined file, block and object storage solutions.


Dan Cordingley, President, CEO

Headquarters: Vancouver, B.C.

Teradici provides PC-over-IP remoting protocol technology, software and hardware aimed at boosting performance, creating secure virtual workspaces and enabling visualization of graphics-intensive applications.

Veriflow Systems

James Brear, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Veriflow can proactively predict what's going to happen on a network before it happens by using mathematical verification that also reduces downtime regarding configuration changes for the data center.

Versa Networks

Kelly Ahuja, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Versa's Cloud IP Platform delivers a broad set of capabilities for building agile and secure networks. Versa's core capabilities include segmentation, content-based policy, as well as elasticity and automation with REST APIs for integration into DevOps environments.


Pat Gelsinger, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

VMware's software-defined data center platform supports any device, application and any cloud and brings together compute, storage and network virtualization into a natively integrated stack.