Networking, Virtualization Veterans Flock To Big Switch Networks


Network virtualization startup Big Switch Networks named two industry veterans to its executive team Monday, the latest in a series of moves that have earned Big Switch plenty of attention in the industry.

Isabelle Guis is Big Switch's new vice president, outbound marketing. She goes to Big Switch from Avaya, where she was general manager, Enterprise Communications Business. Before Avaya, Guis was at Cisco, where she worked in wireless and mobility and helped lead the integration of Airespace following its acquisition by Cisco in 2005.

An Avaya spokesperson said Guis left Avaya at the end of September.

Mansour Karam is Big Switch's new vice president, strategic alliances, where among other duties he's charged with managing Big Switch's partner ecosystem. Karam was one of the first employees at Arista Networks and launched its product, marketing, sales and partner strategies, later becoming Arista's business development director.

Founded in 2010 and based in Palo Alto, Calif., Big Switch Networks uses the OpenFlow switching and communications protocol, which addresses packet routing on a software layer that's separate from the network's physical infrastructure.

Guido Appenzeller, Big Switch's CEO and co-founder, led the research team that developed the OpenFlow v.1.0 standard and associated technologies. Big Switch copped $13.75 million in Series A funding in April.

"We're delighted to welcome Isabelle and Mansour to the executive team," said Appenzeller in a statement. "Our goal is to build the number one software-defined networking company, and we're excited to be bringing on the top talent as leadership to help us achieve this goal."

Guis and Karam join a number of recent hires at Big Switch, notably Howie Xu, a nine-year veteran of VMware who moved to Big Switch in September as its vice president of engineering, in charge of research and development.

Other companies in the still-loosely-defined market for network virtualization startups are also luring industry veterans. Alan Cohen, former vice president for enterprise and public sector at Cisco, left Cisco earlier this month to join Nicira, which boasts a number of executives formerly of Juniper, Cisco, Palo Alto Networks and several other companies.