Software Defined Networking (SDN) is an opportunity for multiple classes of technology vendors beyond the typical networking vendors. In particular, SDN is attractive to silicon vendors, whose technology can enable both whitebox and purpose-built networking gear. One of those vendors is Cavium, which announced on July 30 that it is getting deeper into the SDN world by way of an acquisition.
Cavium announced its intention to acquire privately held Xpliant for $90 million. The Xpliant website provides few details on the company, only noting that it is a "startup in stealth mode." The company's tag line is "adding pliancy to the future network."
"Xpliant has developed a disruptive family of switching silicon solutions for next-generation software defined networks," Syed Ali, president and CEO at Cavium, said in a statement. "This product line significantly expands our addressable TAM and will be an exciting addition to our portfolio of solutions for the data center, service provider and enterprise markets."
Ali added that Xpliant's product line is complementary to Cavium's existing products and will enable Cavium to deliver highly optimized end-to-end solutions to customers. Xpliant's solutions include silicon that can enable 10G/40G/100G port speeds and port densities that scale to multi-terabit deployments. According to Cavium, the Xpliant technology has been designed from the ground up to meet the challenges of SDN.
Cavium is no stranger to Xpliant and was one of the company's investors, providing $15 million in previous funding.
In addition to Cavium's extensive and growing silicon hardware assets, the company also has its MontaVista Linux division. Cavium acquired MontaVista for $50 million back in 2009 in a bid to boost its embedded systems capabilities. The MontaVista acquisition followed Intel's acquisition of rival embedded Linux vendor Wind River in 2009 for $884 million.
Intel has been very active in the SDN space in recent years as well. In April 2013, Intel announced its own SDN switch and server platforms. Cavium has not been idle in the SDN arena either, with multiple products, including the LiquidIO 10 gigabit server adapters for SDN.
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Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.