Former ProCurve Chief Surfaces At WAN Acceleration Upstart


Former HP ProCurve sales and marketing leader Karl Soderlund has emerged at upstart WAN optimization and acceleration vendor Certeon.

Soderlund, who was ProCurve's vide president and general manager for sales and marketing, will bring his 15 years of industry experience to Certeon as senior vice president of its worldwide sales and business development organizations.

Soderlund left HP a few weeks ago, and on Monday was officially announced at Certeon. He had been with HP since 2008, and before then, was senior vice president of American sales and global alliances at Fortinet and prior to that role, had held various executive positions at Extreme Networks and Cisco.

"It was a professional decision for me to leave to pursue this opportunity, and it's not a reflection on HP to leave," Soderlund said in an interview with CRN Friday. "What compelled me to make the move was that with Certeon, what a differentiated technology they currently have. There's a big need in the marketplace for it."

As a WAN optimization and WAN application acceleration vendor, Burlington, Mass.-based Certeon is different from the incumbent players in the space, Soderlund argued, because its offerings are entirely software-based.

Certeon's flagship aCelera software line is 100 percent fully virtualized, hypervisor-agnostic and therefore offers cheaper total cost of ownership than rivals like Riverbed, Cisco, Blue Coat and Citrix, he said.

"It's very profitable for our partners out there. No one else is selling this," Soderlund said. "They really wanted me to come over and both domestically and around the world drive strong gross margins here for partners. This is a black swan technology right now, not another me-too technology. It works with multiple hypervisors and multiple hardware sets, and really leverages what you have in your data center."

Soderlund declined to offer specifics on when the moves were made to bring him over from HP, but said Certeon had approached him.

Certeon currently has fewer than 25 channel partners domestically and fewer than 100 worldwide, and Soderlund said that his short-term goal is to grow that base and open up sales of aCelera to two-tier distribution. On a distributor perspective, Certeon is talking with "all the usual suspects," Soderlund said, and the company will be adding inside channel resources, as well.

Certeon, he reiterated, is "very compelling and I believe it's going to be one of the fastest growing companies in the space."

"Karl Soderlund brings in-depth network industry sales and business development experience to help us take our company to a whole new level of sales efficiency," said Peter Dougherty, Certeon's president and CEO, in a statement.

Word of Soderlund's departure began to circulate widely at last week's HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas.

Earlier this week, Marius Haas, senior vice president and general manager of HP Networking, confirmed Soderlund's departure and said that HP wished Soderlund well.