2018 Software-Defined Data Center 50

2018 Software-Defined Data Center 50

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 strategy include simpli­fied management under a single platform, reducing the need for specialized components, and the automation of resource provisioning and management. With the rise of the software-defined data center, Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell told CRN recently that on-premises solutions are becoming more cost-effective compared with the public cloud.

Here is CRN's list of the 50 vendors leading the development of the software-defined data center.

128 Technology

Andy Ory, CEO

Headquarters: Burlington, Mass.

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.


Shawn Farshchi, CEO, President

Headquarters: Milpitas, Calif.

Aryaka’s Global SD-WAN technology combines a purpose-built private network, optimization and acceleration techniques, cloud connectivity and network visibility in a single offering delivered as a service. The company is one of the largest pure play SD-WAN providers in the world.

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. The data center networking company's Big Cloud Fabric switching fabric delivers network automation and visibility for cloud-native applications.

Bigleaf Networks

Joel Mulkey, CEO

Headquarters: Beaverton, Ore.

Bigleaf's Cloud-first SD-WAN provides an intelligent networking service that optimizes internet and cloud performance by dynamically choosing the best connection based on real-time usage and diagnostics. The company tunnels customer traffic through its Cloud Access Network, enabling its SD-WAN platform to prioritize and fail over applications.

Cisco Systems

Chuck Robbins, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

The networking giant continues to dive deeper into the data center with new UCS servers and software-defined storage networking offerings. Cisco continually revamps its data center solutions such as HyperFlex, its hyper-converged infrastructure offering, as well as the security and analytics platform Tetration.

Citrix Systems

David J. Henshall, President, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

The global software vendor provides server, application and desktop virtualization, along with networking, SaaS and cloud computing technologies. Citrix's NetScaler SD-WAN offering combines real-time path selection, edge routing, end-to-end quality of service and WAN optimization.


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. CloudGenix's AppFrabic uses machine learning to understand the health and performance intricacies of both WANs and applications.


George Mulhern, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Boise, Idaho

Elastic Edge is Cradlepoint's blueprint for pervasive, software-driven wireless WANs that lets organizations securely connect branch, mobile, and Internet of Things networking applications. Its NetCloud platform includes the NetCloud Engine for virtual cloud networking that leverages cloud, SDN and NFV technologies.

Cumulus Networks

Josh Leslie, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Cumulus helps businesses build efficient and affordable data center networks using open networking software that runs on Linux. The company is the developer of the Cumulus Linux open network operating system that helps customers automate, customize and scale using web-scale principles without the need for specialized hardware.

DataCore Software

Dave Zabrowski, 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. With DataCore, technologies such as flash and containers can be installed without disrupting legacy environments.


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-flash nodes.

Dell EMC

Michael Dell, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Round Rock, Texas

Dell EMC is the largest data center infrastructure provider with a plethora of servers, storage, networking offerings, as well as VMware's software-defined technology. Dell has a wide variety of software-defined data center solutions including elastic cloud storage and its popular VxRail hyper-converged infrastructure appliance.


Steve Singh, 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 on-premises and in the cloud. Last year, Docker unveiled native support for Kubernetes.


Mike Burica, President, CEO

Headquarters: Plymouth, Minn.

An early developer of WAN and network security technology, Ecessa is now best-known for its WANworX SD-WAN technology. WANworX lets enterprises seamlessly connect all their locations with internet and cloud-based resources via multiple WAN links from different carriers to support diverse data paths.

Elfiq Networks

John Proctor, President and CEO, Martello Technologies

Headquarters: Montreal, Quebec

Elfiq Networks, a subsidiary of Martello Technologies, connects edge hardware or virtual devices to central data centers or the cloud to form SD-WAN. The company recently released Atlas, Elfiq's first subscription-based SD-WAN as a service suite. Elfiq merged with communications management provider Martello Technologies in January.


Gary Quinn, President, CEO

Headquarters: Melville, N.Y.

FalconStor provides data protection and storage virtualization software. FalconStor's FreeStor software-defined technology provides intelligent abstraction of the storage to separate the storage capabilities from the hardware, predictive analytics to provide insight into storage issues, intelligent tools to take proactive and reactive actions, and pricing based on business requirements.

FatPipe Networks

Ragula Bhaskar, CEO

Headquarters: Salt Lake City

SD-WAN provider FatPipe Networks offers an array of VPN, WAN and cloud services for the data center including FatPipe Symphony and Orchestrator, which provide the ability to centrally manage WANs, manage branch office configuration and deploy appliances with zero-touch installation.


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.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Antonio Neri, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

With one of the richest data center infrastructure portfolios in the world, HPE offers a wide range of server, storage, cloud, security, big data and IoT products and services. HPE's SimpliVity is based on a software-defined scale-out storage architecture that can scale from a single node to eight clustered nodes plus an additional 16 network-only nodes.

Hitachi Vantara

Ryuichi Otsuki, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Hitachi Vantara is a new unified company that combines Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group and Pentaho. The company's Smart Data Center delivers advanced predictive and prescriptive analytics to automate and improve operational efficiency and cloud computing services – on- or off-premises.


Bruno Andrade, CEO

Headquarters: Toronto

HTBase provides a composable infrastructure OS that abstracts resources from disparate hardware and public cloud vendors, creating a homogeneous resource pool that can be centrally managed. The offering enables organizations to run any workload on top of an intelligence infrastructure that adapts and allocates resources that bridge data centers and public clouds.


Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, CEO

Headquarters: Armonk, N.Y.

IBM's data center focus is now around IBM Cloud and its Watson-based cognitive computing. IBM Spectrum Computing uses intelligent workloads and policy-driven resource scheduling to accelerate time to results while optimizing resources from application software licenses to network bandwidth.

Juniper Networks

Rami Rahim, CEO

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.

Juniper's Unite Cloud framework can support data center infrastructure both physical and virtual. The vendor's software-defined networking portfolio includes Contrail, a turnkey cloud management platform that delivers automation, application security and always-on reliability for cloud and NFV.


Yang Yuanqing, CEO

Headquarters: Morrisville, N.C.

The data center server powerhouse also offers storage, networking, converged systems and software. Lenovo is striving to build the "future-defined data center" powered by its ThinkSystem servers, ThinkAgile systems and Intel Xeon processors.


Kevin McGibben, President, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Barbara, Calif.

LogicMonitor provides a SaaS-based performance monitoring system for on-premises and cloud IT systems -- everything from data center servers to cloud applications running on AWS and Azure. The platform can predict when problems might occur while providing a single-pane-of-glass view for customers.


Yoram Novick, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Maxta's MxSP software brings hyper-converged infrastructure capabilities to any standard x86-based server. The software allows storage to scale independent of compute depending on workload requirements, while its application-defined storage technology provides resiliency and performance policies on a per-virtual machine basis.


Satya Nadella, CEO

Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.

The software giant continues to help move customers toward a complete software-defined data center with its compute virtualization, storage and SDN offerings. Last year, Microsoft unveiled a software-defined data center partner program around its hyper-converged and software-defined storage offerings.

George Kurian, President, CEO

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.

A leader in all-flash storage, NetApp has a variety of data center infrastructure management, storage software, converged systems, and data backup and recovery offerings. NetApp also provides hybrid data services.


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's open-source-driven software protects customers against vendor lock-in.

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.


Dheeraj Pandey, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

The hyper-converged infrastructure pioneer combines storage, compute and networking into an appliance with unified management. Nutanix's technology strategy is to completely ditch hardware to focus on becoming a software-centric vendor.


Safra Catz, Mark Hurd, Co-CEOs

Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.

Oracle offers a full integrated stack of cloud applications and platform services. Oracle's cloud-ready Optimized Data Center platform lets customers quickly activate new services with a fabric system that enables software-based dynamic provisioning.


Ron Nash, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Pivot3 offers hyper-converged infrastructure for high-performance enterprise IT workloads aiming to simplify the data center by collapsing storage, compute and network resources into an easy-to-deploy offering.


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.

Pluribus Networks

Kumar Srikantan, President, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

Built on Pluribus' Netvisor network virtualization software, the Adaptive Cloud Fabric operates without a controller and delivers an elastic network that adopts to change and a wide range of deployment scenarios to streamline operations, improve efficiency and lower costs.

Primary Data

Lance Smith, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Los Altos, Calif.

Primary Data's DataSphere platform is used to ensure data is in the right place across enterprise IT systems and the cloud. By separating the logical view of data from physical storage systems, the DataSphere metadata engine allows data to be placed where it's most needed, giving applications the ability to access data across multiple storage systems.

Red Hat

Jim 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.


Paul Mountford, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

Riverbed has quickly doubled down on becoming an SD-WAN force by acquiring two companies, Ocedo and Xirrus. The company's SteelConnect offering allows customers to deploy and manage SD-WAN and Wi-Fi from a single cloud-based console and can use LTE wireless uplinks to increase network reach and connectivity.

Scale Computing

Jeff Ready, CEO

Headquarters: Indianapolis

Scale Computing's HC3 is a hyper-converged platform combining server, storage, hypervisor and backup in scalable appliance-based solutions. The hyper-converged infrastructure vendor also develops scale-out clustered and disaster recovery products.


Jerome Lecat, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

Scality's cloud storage Ring7 offering provides a multi-site file and object cloud with a focus on preventing security breaches through advanced encryption. The offering provides full control to users over where their data is stored and provides replication to the AWS S3 cloud.

Silver Peak

David Hughes, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Silver Peak's integrated offering combines high-performance SD-WAN, WAN optimization routing and a stateful firewall. The company's Unity EdgeConnect physical or virtual appliances deliver predictable application performance over any combination of transport services including low-cost consumer broadband.


Ariel Maislos, CEO

Headquarters: Israel

Stratoscale's Symphony converges resources into a single offering that brings the agility of the cloud to on-premises environments by transforming infrastructure, including any x86 server and external storage, into an elastic and optimized IaaS.


Don Jaworski, CEO

Headquarters: San Francisco

SwiftStack offers hybrid cloud storage software for customers that require universal access to petabytes of unstructured data in a single namespace. The company last year released two upgrades to its software to improve automation and multi-cloud management.

Talari Networks

Patrick Sweeney, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Talari’s SD-WAN platform creates a responsive network that adapts in real time to bandwidth demand and actual network conditions to ensure critical applications have priority. The subscription-based SD-WAN offering can be delivered via the cloud or as an appliance-based offering.


Peter McKay, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Baar, Switzerland

Veeam technology helps businesses meet recovery time and point objectives of under 15 minutes for any application, any data, on any cloud. The Veeam Availability Suite leverages virtualization, storage and cloud technologies. The company recently added AWS cloud-native capabilities when it acquired N2WS.


Bill Coleman, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

Since its 2015 spinoff from Symantec, Veritas has become a nimble provider of cloud-based backup and recovery, business continuity and data governance, as well as multi-cloud data management and software-defined storage.

Versa Networks

Kelly Ahuja, CEO

Headquarters: Santa Clara, 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. The company has a deep lineup of products including vSphere for server virtualization, vCloud Director for disaster recovery services and NSX for SDN.