VMware NSX Engineer Jumps To Amazon Web Services To Open New Chicago Office

Brad Hedlund, a well-known VMware sales engineer and vocal supporter of NSX software-defined networking, has left to join public cloud leader Amazon Web Services.

Hedlund is now a "member of the technical staff" at AWS, where he'll be working to open the vendor's new field office in Chicago, according to his recently updated LinkedIn profile.

The AWS Chicago office will handle support for enterprise customers -- including troubleshooting issues with customers' apps, overseeing "application performance and cost optimization," and working with "cloud internetworking architecture," according to Hedlund's LinkedIn profile.

[Related: Why Amazon Web Services Is An Enterprise Force To Be Reckoned With]

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Seattle-based Amazon is mounting a major expansion in the Chicago region and currently lists 187 job openings on LinkedIn, including many AWS-related positions.

"AWS is hiring account executives, solutions architects, technical consultants and partner development managers in Chicago to guide our global, enterprise and mid-market customers along their journey to the cloud," Amazon said on its job listings website.

AWS didn't respond to a request for comment on Hedlund's hiring. A VMware spokesperson confirmed that Hedlund has left the vendor but offered no additional comment. Hedlund was also unavailable for comment.

While Hedlund wasn't a top executive at VMware, his hiring could be part of AWS' push to attract more "traditional" enterprise-focused solution providers -- i.e., those that work with vendors like VMware and Cisco. AWS has also recently been stepping up efforts to attract managed service provider partners.

Hedlund joined VMware in December 2012 as an engineering architect in the CTO office of its Networking and Security Business Unit, which is home to NSX. That group is headed by Martin Casado, former CTO of Nicira, which VMware bought for $1.2 billion in July of 2012.

Hedlund, who spent five years in engineering roles at Cisco before joining VMware, has often blogged about the advantages of NSX over Cisco's competing version of SDN, called Application Centric Infrastructure.

In a blog post last November, Hedlund said one reason he joined VMware was because he believes the software-only approach to SDN is better than ACI, which uses software and hardware.

"The choice [to join VMware] was easy for the simple reason that VMware is the most capable pure software company in the networking business," Hedlund said in the blog post. "It was apparent to me then (and still is now), that in the new world of hybrid cloud and self-service IT, the winners will be the ones who can produce the best software."

Earlier in his career, Hedlund was a systems engineer for various Cisco solution providers, and he also spent three years as an enterprise networking consultant at Avnet, according to his LinkedIn profile.

With Hedlund now on board, AWS may be able to convince even more traditional enterprise solution providers to partner with the public cloud giant.