Last week VMware (s VMW) spent a whopping $1.26 billion on Nicira, a pioneer in the software-defined networking sector so  it could get a toe-hold in the emerging software-defined data center business. However, it won’t be long before the company is going to start facing competition from others. One name to watch is Contrail Systems, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures and an unnamed strategic investor.

Software-defined networking after years of staying in the shadows is having its moment under the sun in 2012. The sale of Nicira has only increased the glare around the software-based networking trend. But this is just the start, argues Contrail CEO Ankur Singla, who until recently was Chief Technology Officer and VP of engineering at Aruba Networks. His co-founders in the company are  Pedro Marques who was at Google (and was a…

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