Plexxi’s Newest Invention Hits the Market – Network Cabling

Though Plexxi was only officially founded in early 2011, it has been operating in stealth mode for the past few years, cooking up new and astounding technological inventions. Their latest product to hit the market may give network cabling companies a reason for pause, as it is the first step in moving away from sole reliance on cables in a network.

Plexxi is a networking technology company started in Cambridge, MA and with additional office in Nashua, NH. They currently have 56 employees, are in the process of hiring more, and are looking to open an office in San Francisco in 2013. Though still a start up company, they have already raised $48.8 million from Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners in venture capital. Their first products were just launched to the commercial market last week, but they have had pilot customers testing merchandise since September, with solid reviews. Two such happy pilot customers are CloudSigma and NextCloud.

Plexxi is defined by software and their main goal is to create networking inside a data center that is able to function without being a slave to the switch. Their products are a mix of software and hardware and they have named their outlook “affinity” networking — where the abilities of the network function live and are directed by application requirements. They hope to have networks that are more software based, with less reliance on where the networking cables are layer, to save on power consumption, cost, and latency.

Plexxi’s newest product is the ultimate in switches and is designed to handle large amounts of traffic between multiple server racks at quite a speedy pace. This so called switch is really a whole new breed of networking box and has not only software, but an optical transceiver that allows it to connect to other Plexxi boxes for ridiculously fast connections between thousands of servers. This is the first piece of networking technology that relies on optics over electronics to deal with networking bottleneck.

Every switch is complete with a whopping thirty two 10 gigabit Ethernet ports. At the moment, the technology is tested to handle 10,000 servers, but is currently being scaled up for higher numbers. Facebook alone is suspected to have more than 150,000 servers, and as they are looking at Plexxi, the deployment testing is going at a fast pace.

The cloud, though all the rage lately, is still not incredibly efficient, and many believe there is a big waste of energy — both human and computing — going on in there. Plexxi’s goal is to conserve and use that energy, and this switch is their first step in the right direction. The box saves companies a lot of money by using optics and the price is set at $64,000. The networking world should keep an eye on Plexxi. Their server based software is already popular, virtualizing network gear is getting noticed ever since Nicira was bought up by VMWare, and this little start-up is growing fast.