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SDN Startup Pica8 Garners $12.5 Million in Funding Round

The vendor, which offers its PicOS network operating system aimed at helping businesses migrate to SDN, has raised more than $20 million total.

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Pica8, which has developed a networking operating system that officials say is designed to make it easier for organizations to embrace software-defined networking, raised $12.5 million in its latest round of Series B funding.

The new funding, announced Oct. 1, brings the total amount raised by the startup to more than $20 million, and Pica8 officials said the money will help accelerate software development and marketing efforts. It also will help the company expand its efforts in the Asia-Pacific market, due to the presence of Cross Head and Pacific Venture partners, two of the firms behind the $12.5 million and both of which have experience in Japan and Taiwan, respectively.

VantagePoint Capital Partners also helped lead the investment round.

Pica8 for the past couple of years has been building out its PicOS operating system, which is designed to work with any networking chip architecture and can run on commodity bare metal switches. It supports traditional switching and routing protocols, but offers software-defined networking solutions through its support of Open vSwitch (OVS).

Pica8 offers its PicOS, either as a standalone product or integrated with switching hardware as a package. The company also offers a starter kit that can speed up the deployment of the technology, reducing the amount of time needed from months to hours, according to company officials.

Pica8 officials are looking to offer an alternative to the proprietary networking operating systems offered by the likes of Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks.

The company is looking to grow in an increasingly competitive SDN market that IDC analysts said in August will expand from $960 million this year to $8 billion by 2018. SDN and network-functions virtualization (NFV) are part of larger trend toward more software-defined data centers as organizations look to address changing network demands created by such trends as mobile computing, big data, the Internet of things and the cloud.

Most established data center IT vendors like Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and VMware are growing their SDN portfolios, while a broad array of smaller startups are looking to gain traction in the market.

One of those is network virtualization software vendor Midokura. In an email to eWEEK, Midokura co-founder and CEO Dan Dumitriu said that "Pica8's garnering an investment supports our view that there is indeed strong momentum within the emerging software-defined networking (SDN) market. Pica8's view that SDN will be a 'new standard for enterprise operations' is very interesting since we, too, have started selling to cloud service providers, but are seeing more interest from Web-scale applications providers and enterprises."