Cisco Confirms Juniper Executive To Head UCS, Nexus


Cisco late Monday confirmed that David Yen will lead its Server Access and Virtualization Technology Group, putting Yen in charge of the Unified Computing System (UCS) and Nexus switching products critical to Cisco's data center strategy.

The move was finally confirmed by Cisco following reports of Yen's departure from Juniper earlier in the day, including by CRN.

Cisco had declined to provide comment until releasing a statement just after 9 p.m. Eastern Monday.

Yen was most recently executive vice president and general manager of the Fabric and Switching Business Group at Juniper. He joined Juniper in 2008 as executive vice president, emerging technologies, following two decades at Sun Microsystems.

Sources close to Juniper told CRN that Yen chose to depart after Stefan Dyckerhoff, executive vice president, was appointed to lead Juniper's Platform Systems Group earlier this year. It was a position Yen had wanted, those sources said

In his new role at Cisco, Yen will report to Padmasree Warrior, senior vice president and chief technology officer, and Pankaj Patel, senior vice president, who co-lead Cisco's engineering organization. Yen's title is general manager and senior vice president, SAVTG (Server Access and Virtualization Technology Group).

Yen takes over leadership of SAVTG from Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain and Luca Cafiero, three founders of Nuova Systems, which Cisco acquired in early 2008 and which led to the formation of the group.

Mazzola, Jain and Cafiero will continue on as senior technical advisors to Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, as well as help Yen during his transition, according to Cisco.

"When Cisco pioneered Unified Computing in 2008, our critics said we would not last a year in this market," Mazzola said in a statement. "Now, we have one of the hottest technologies in the business world and in combination with the Nexus switching family, Cisco has the most innovative data center portfolio in the IT industry."

Cisco's UCS and data center portfolio have been among the bright spots in series of disappointing earnings reports for the networking titan. In its fiscal second quarter, Cisco reported growth of 59 percent year-over-year for its data center virtualization technologies, with UCS itself growing 700 percent year-over-year revenue.

According to Cisco, UCS had 4,000 customers by the end of that quarter. The company is scheduled to report its third quarter earnings on Wednesday.

Cisco's Chambers praised both Yen's talents and the growth of the data center technologies.

"We couldn't be happier to secure such a talented engineering leader as David Yen to continue the success of our remarkable UCS and Nexus businesses," said Chambers in a statement. "David is inheriting a product portfolio that is firing on all cylinders. Mario, Luca, and Prem's tremendous leadership and innovation have helped Cisco truly revolutionize the world's data centers, and we thank them for that, and for the continuing role they will play as advisors to Cisco."

Yen's arrival to Cisco's engineering follows that of another high profile executive, Mark Papermaster, who joined Cisco as vice president, Silicon Switching Group, in November.

It also comes following several notable executive departures from Cisco, including those of Luanne Tierney, vice president, marketing for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, and Nawaf Bitar, former vice president, engineering and operations, security technology business unit. Both Tierney and Bitar went to Juniper.