We have come to another big milestone in the journey of our company, and of the next-generation data center networking movement at large. The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking was just released, with Big Switch's debut as a “Visionary” alongside Cumulus, VMware and Dell EMC.

Historically, most of the companies in this quadrant have gone on to double market share over the next year. We aim to be comfortably in that group. Our top line has doubled every year since we made Big Monitoring Fabric generally available in early 2014. It is an exciting time for us, and the future looks bright (and brite!).

For me, this is also a milestone where I reflect back on the roots of the company in the Stanford SDN research team. The original vision embraced not only a new way of organizing the software used to build networking products, but also a new way of organizing the networking industry itself. In a $54B industry, this was not something we expected to happen overnight, but rather a long journey starting with the data center.

As a data point, when we first started the company there was no data center networking magic quadrant. “Wired and wireless LAN equipment” was the name of the segment as there was so little differentiation between campus and data center networking. It was an area ripe for disruption. 2013, the year before we launched our products, was the first time that data center networking had its own Magic Quadrant report and for two years the Leader Quadrant stood empty. No company had both the Gartner “completeness of vision” score and the market share required to occupy the top right. Arista, coming off its own three years of doubling revenues, received most of the news with its debut in the Visionaries Quadrant at the time.

 Today, each of the companies in the Visionaries Quadrant have embraced the new way of organizing the networking industry. Whether we are separating networking control planes and data planes (the early Stanford vision) or networking software and hardware (the eventual industry outcome), the end result is the same: faster innovation, better products and happier users. It should be no surprise that unlike the incumbents, the Visionary companies prioritize automation, software integration and ease of use above the long tail of legacy protocols that have less and less data center relevance.  Our users are looking up to the cloud, not out across the campus, for their design inspiration.

It is an exciting time to be at Big Switch, and an exciting time to be in networking.

Kyle Forster

To read Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking: http://bit.ly/2tQst22

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.