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Nicira Launches: Will change the world of networking giants and enterprise IT

My friend Peter Thorp has a way of sensing great technologies and then helping teach others of the relevance of those to enterprise missions. He did that with amazing firms like Netscape and Opsware and has been key in teaching many of us about dozens of other incredible capabilities. For the last year he has been telling a few of us about a story that can now be broadly shared. His latest project is leading all federal activities of a firm called Nicira.

Nicira has just exited “stealth-mode” and is now providing information broadly on what they do and how they do it. One of their press releases is copied below for your information. The press and analysts in the IT community are now diving deeper into Nicira’s capability and are already concluding what Peter told me long ago. Nicira will deliver powerful capabilities that can transform network operations and economics. We will be writing more about Nicira here in the future and will also be capturing reference information at our companion site CTOlabs.com, so please stay tuned for more.

As you read the press release below, consider how disruptive and virtuous virtualization has been to enterprises that once had to buy a server for every single application they ran. Server Virtualization saved enterprises everywhere and is still disrupting things in a positive way. That same dramatic savings and performance enhancement is now about to sweep the world of routers and switches and networking.

More below and at:

New York Times: Start-Up Nicira Plans to Disrupt Networking Giants

A New Net
Nicira “Opens” Up About its Virtual Networking Plans

Meet Nicira. Yes, people will call it the VMware of networking.

February 6, 2012


Network Virtualization Platform Reinvents Network Operations and Economics

Palo Alto, Calif., February 6, 2012 – Nicira, the network virtualization company, today publicly unveiled its Network Virtualization Platform (NVP). NVP is a software-based system that creates a distributed virtual network infrastructure in cloud data centers that is completely decoupled and independent from physical network hardware. With Nicira NVP, global market leaders such as AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, NTT and Rackspace are already realizing service delivery acceleration from weeks to minutes and dramatic cost reductions in data centers of tens of millions of dollars.

“AT&T, working with Nicira, is delivering enterprise-grade, secure and scalable network virtualization within its internal OpenStack deployment,” said Toby Ford, AVP Cloud Architecture and Strategy, AT&T. “Nicira’s technologies support our work to open the network for innovation and unlock numerous, differentiated offers such as the AT&T API Delivery Platform, the AT&T Developer Center ForHealth, and other services we’ll be building for developers and businesses.”

“Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform is a game changer,” said Lew Moorman, President, Rackspace. “Nicira’s product and industry contributions with OpenStack are tightly aligned with our strategy to bring together the most innovative and open technology with our own fanatical support. Together we are bringing enterprise private networking to the cloud.”

Redefining Network Operations and Economics

NVP was designed to address the shortcomings of traditional networks by offering a platform that provides the operational model of a virtual machine. While applications have been decoupled from servers through compute virtualization, they have not yet been decoupled from the network through any type of scalable network virtualization. As a result, virtualized data centers face limits to what applications they can support and where the workloads can be placed.

These limitations restrict workload mobility, thus lowering resource utilization of servers, a primary cause of operational overhead. Legacy approaches can leave as much as 20%-30% of the server capacity in data centers under utilized and drive up networking costs several fold, based on Nicira’s work with the largest cloud data center operators.

“Network virtualization is the biggest change to networking in 25 years,” said Stephen Mullaney, Chief Executive Officer of Nicira. “NVP provides the final pivotal piece to cloud computing, the most transformational change to IT in a generation. And the largest most forward-thinking cloud providers are laser focused on operations and economics, the two benefits Nicira delivers.”

Distributed Virtual Network Infrastructure

NVP is a scalable software system implemented at the network edge and managed by distributed clustered controller architecture. The system forms a thin software layer that treats the physical network as an IP backplane. This approach allows the creation of virtual networks that have the same properties and services as physical networks, such as security and QoS policies, L2 reachability, and higher-level service capabilities such as stateful firewalling. These virtual networks can be created dynamically to support VM mobility anywhere within or between data centers without service disruption or address changes.

The NVP platform is compatible with any data center network hardware. It can be deployed non-disruptively on any existing network, and it allows for future changes to the network hardware without disruption to the operations of the virtual network platform.

Nicira was founded by networking research leaders Martin Casado and Nick McKeown from Stanford University and Scott Shenker from University of California at Berkeley. Casado’s work at Stanford led to the creation of OpenFlow and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), an architectural approach in which the intelligence of networking shifts from hardware to software. The company has raised $50 million in funding to date from Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and New Enterprise Associates, as well as individual investors including VMware co-founder Diane Greene and Benchmark Capital co-founder Andy Rachleff.

Pricing and Availability

NVP software is delivered through a usage-based, monthly subscription-pricing model, which scales per virtual network port. Customers only pay for what they use, and pricing scales accordingly. NVP software has been commercially available since July 2011.

Additional Customer Commentary

“Nicira allows us to repurpose network infrastructure on-demand and move applications dynamically. This eliminates the operational constraints associated with the existing network environment, and reduces the time it takes us to deliver a service from days to minutes.”
JC Martin, Cloud Architect, eBay

“Network virtualization and software-defined networking enable us to provide an even more robust, responsive IT infrastructure for our firm. Nicira’s commitment to open networking standards allows us to scale our infrastructure, while continuing to provide the highly flexible, agile and innovative IT services that help us meet our customers’ needs.”
James Davis, Senior Vice President, Global Network Services, Fidelity Investments

“Network virtualization is the key to cloud and maximizes important NTT group assets, including worldwide data centers and carrier-grade networks. Nicira’s integration into OpenStack and cloud scale led to our partnership. We believe software-defined networking is the future of our industry and Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform transcends anything we’ve seen.”
Eiji Kuwana, Vice President, NTT R&D Labs

Additional Media Resources

Downloadable videos, animations, graphics, headshots, logos, white papers and other materials can be found at


About Nicira

Nicira is the network virtualization company. Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform (NVP) enables the dynamic creation of virtual network infrastructure and services that are completely decoupled and independent from the physical network hardware. Innovative companies such as AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, NTT and Rackspace are using Nicira NVP to accelerate service delivery from weeks to minutes and dramatically reduce complexity and cost. For more information, please visit www.nicira.com.

Media Contact: Michael Celiceo, (+1) 415-370-6943, [email protected]

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