SDN Vendor PLUMgrid is No More; Some Assets Acquired by VMware

by Sean Michael Kerner

After several years of trying to build a sustainable Software Defined Networking business, PLUMgrid is done.

The first time I wrote about PLUMgrid was in June 2013, when the company emerged from stealth with $10.7 million in funding and a dream to enable the Software Defined Networking (SDN) market. Three and a half years later, that dream is dead as PLUMgrid is gone, with some of its assets and employees joining VMware.

No, this is not a grand exit for PLUMgrid, or a great acquisition with big numbers. In fact, there are no public numbers to speak of in regards to what VMware is paying for the limited assets it is picking up. PLUMgrid had raised a total of $46 million in funding over its three years of existence and it's not clear if investors recovered all their money.

A VMware spokesperson told Enterprise Networking Planet that on Friday, December 16, VMware acquired certain IP assets from the company and that a number of PLUMgrid employees have now joined VMware.

PLUMgrid founder Pere Monclus wrote in a blog post that the company "will be starting a new journey as we continue revolutionizing and transforming the networking industry to build and expand on software-defined infrastructure for private and public clouds."

PLUMgrid has a number of interesting technologies that will be of value to VMware. The core PLUMgrid OpenStack Networking Suite (ONS) is an interesting overlay approach that likely won't survive intact inside of VMware, as it competes with NSX, already a mature solution. That said, there are elements of ONS that could help enhance NSX.

Plumgrid is also the founder of the Linux Foundation's IOvisor effort, which in an interesting networking effort that is baked into ONS. VMware could do well to take over stewardship of the open-source effort and use it as a way to further enhance NSX over time.

It's not clear at this stage why PLUMgrid isn't continuing on its own. The company got a new CEO in Larry Lang in June 2015. I did a video interview with Lang just over a year ago while in Tokyo, Japan, and at the time he was very optimistic about the continued growth trajectory of the company.

That said, while there is a lot of hype in the SDN space, not every SDN vendor is able to grow at a pace that investors want. The open-source networking options available to OpenStack Neutron users are many, as are the options for container networking users as well. I suspect that with PLUMgrid, revenues exceeded costs, venture funding dried up, and VMware was the best exit under the circumstances.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

This article was originally published on Tuesday Dec 20th 2016