Monday, December 12, 2011

ConteXtream Targets Software-Defined Networking for Access and Hosting & Cloud Providers

ConteXtream, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California with R&D in Petach Tikva, Israel, introduced a cloud-scale overlay grid architecture that leverages a distributed control plane instead of a centralized controller to deliver software-defined networking capabilities for broadband access network operators and cloud service providers. The ConteXtream Grid is a distributed virtual L4-7 switch that works as an overlay on existing networks to connect an unlimited number of endpoints to a flat network.

The ConteXtream architecture aims to solve three challenges for the cloud: the dynamic provisioning of resources; multi-tenancy, where VLAN become too complex to manage across a large network; and cloud-scale address learning. Unlike other Open Flow based approaches avoids any centralized choke point by distributing control plane intelligence to switches throughout the network, thus preventing vendor lock-in. ConteXtream will partner with switch vendors to enable its control plane. To solve the address learning challenge, ConteXtream is leveraging a unique Distributed Hash technique rather than flooding to identify new elements as they connect to the network.
By implementing its ConteXtream software in top-of-rack switches in the data center, the architecture reduces the number of connections that have to be managed in the network by three orders of magnitude and eliminates the need to install software on every application server.

ConteXtream said the benefit of its Grid software is that IT organizations no longer need to retrofit legacy solutions, limit virtualization zones, or constantly reconfigure networking infrastructure. ConteXtream Grid software is both hypervisor and networking equipment independent. This will help service providers drive significant CAPEX savings in application resources and networking costs, while giving them more flexibility to partner with Application Service Providers (ASPs).

ConteXtream notes that it is already deployed by tier one service providers to manage their broadband access networks.

  • Investors in ConteXtream include Comcast Interactive Capital and Verizon Ventures, as well as Benhamou Global Ventures, Gemini Israel Funds, Norwest Venture Partners and Sofinnova Ventures. The company was founded in 2007 and had raised $29 million in funding.

  • ConteXtream is headed by Dr. Yaron Simler (CEO), who previously was CEO of Scopus Video Networks. The company was co-founded by Sharon Barkai (previously Founder & CEO of Xeround Systems) and Eldad Bar-Eli (previously with Cisco).


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