No, SocketPlane doesn’t have a product generally available yet, although one source says two alpha versions of its software have been released. But who needs product when you’ve got Madhu Venugopal? He’s the engineer that the acquirer is really after, says one source from the investor community. (SocketPlane did not respond to requests for comment.)
Venugopal, Brent Salisbury, and Dave Tucker left Red Hat in October to found SocketPlane, with Venugopal as CEO. Their goal was to marry Open vSwitch and Docker, attacking the problem of network management in a virtualized, container-filled data center.
So, who would want that kind of product or expertise? We came up with a few theories.
Red Hat. You can’t blame the company if it simply wants these guys back.
Docker Inc. Docker (the container) is in need of robust networking. Docker (the company) would probably love to provide it but has no networking expertise or background. The SocketPlane guys would be an excellent pickup of talent, and the stuff they’re working on would fit, too. Plus, Docker seems to like acquiring these microsopic companies you’ve never heard of.
Brocade. This theory has less to do with Docker than with the OpenDaylight Project. Brocade has hoovered up a lot of talent around that project, including David Meyer (chairman) and Colin Dixon (chair of the Technical Steering Committee). Venugopal and Salisbury would fit the pattern.
VMware. The open source Open vSwitch project is still housed at VMware. On top of that, the Open Virtual Network (OVN) project, launched in January to bring virtual networking to containers, can claim Venugopal among its instigators. He’s one of the authors of this Network Heresy post announcing the project. Not exactly a smoking gun, but you can see how the pieces would fit together. One catch: VMware has a lot of networking people already (such as, you know, the whole Open vSwitch team).
The point is that it’s believable that SocketPlane might get bought so quickly. The Docker and networking worlds are facing a hunger for talent and a need for speed, and SocketPlane certainly has the talent to help.