christmas treeIt may not fit easily under the Christmas tree, but a network virtualization company seems to be on every venture capital firm’s wishlist this year. The latest network virtualization company to outshine the Furby and the iPad Mini is Pluribus Networks.

PN claims to be driving the “third wave of virtualization into the ethernet hardware market.” IT administrators can use the systems to achieve high-performance computing and bolster private and public cloud data centers.

Menlo Ventures led this round of $23 million.

“Pluribus Networks’ Server-Switch architecture is a revolutionary rethinking of the infrastructure required for today’s new datacenters,” said Mark Siegel, the managing director at Menlo Ventures, in a statement. The need for a virtualized and programmable network fabric is imperative to dynamically allocate and manage connectivity and data flows.”

This is not Menlo Ventures’ first investment in a virtualization startup. It invested in Tintri over the summer, a company that produces Flash storage appliances for virtual machines. Previous investors New Enterprise Associates and Mohr Davidow Ventures also joined this round, following a $17.5 million Series B led by NEA in April 2011.

Now with more than $40 million in its stocking, Pluribus Networks will have a very Merry Christmas and a strongly supported start to the new year. Read the press release.