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HPE Acquires Plexxi to Expand SDN Vision

Hewlett Packard Enterprise picks up hyperconverged network platform vendor to build a single compute storage and networking data fabric.

 By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 15, 2018
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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced on May 15 that it is acquiring venture-backed networking startup Plexxi. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed, and the acquisition is set to close during HPE's third quarter, which ends on July 31.

Plexxi was founded in 2010 and first made a name for itself as a software-defined networking (SDN) vendor. The company had raised approximately $90 million in funding from investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners.

"By seamlessly combining Plexxi’s next-generation data center fabric with HPE’s existing software-defined infrastructure, HPE can deliver a true cloud-like experience in the data center," Ric Lewis, SVP and GM, Software-Defined and Cloud group at HPE, blogged. "Through this acquisition, we will deliver hyperconverged and composable solutions with a next-generation data network fabric that can automatically create or re-balance bandwidth to workload needs."

While Plexxi originally was positioned as an SDN technology, the company has shifted in recent years to provide an intent-based networking model with its Hyperconverged Network (HCN) platform.

In addition to the acquisition news, on May 15 Plexxi  announced an update to the HCN platform, providing VMware interoperability.

"Thanks to Plexxi’s seamless VMware interoperability and native control of data center fabric switches, VMware administrators can now quickly deploy mixed cloud applications directly from vCenter and have full confidence that the required network bandwidth and low latency is at the ready," Denis Vilfort, Plexxi vice president of marketing, stated.

HPE has plans to integrate Plexxi's networking technology in a broader way than just VMware. Lewis noted that Plexxi will be integrated into HPE's hyperconverged portfolio, which was bolstered by the $650 million acquisition of SimpliVity in January 2017.

"Building on last year’s SimpliVity acquisition, Plexxi will enable us to deliver the industry’s only hyperconverged offering that incorporates compute, storage and data fabric networking into a single solution, with a single management interface and support," Lewis said. "The combined HPE SimpliVity plus Plexxi solution will provide customers with a highly dynamic workload-based model to better align IT resources to business priorities."

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

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