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VMware Hires Another Big Name Exec For NSX Software-Defined Networking Team

Kevin McLaughlin

VMware, which earlier this month poached a top data center executive from Cisco, has hired another well-known figure in the world of software-defined networking.

Guido Appenzeller, co-founder and former CEO of SDN startup Big Switch Networks, joined VMware this week as chief technology strategy officer of its networking and security business unit.

Appenzeller stepped down as Big Switch Networks CEO last November to become CTO, and left the company in March, according to his LinkedIn profile. He revealed his plan to join VMware in a Thursday tweet:

I just decided on my next adventure. And it’s not a startup. I am excited to join the best team in the entire networking industry!
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[Related: Cisco 'Livid' Over VMware's Poaching Of Key Data Center Executive, Says Source]

Appenzeller managed OpenFlow development as a professor at Stanford University and was previously co-founder and CTO of Voltage Security.

Appenzeller's deep security and networking background makes him a perfect fit for VMware's NSX team, Martin Casado, senior vice president of VMware's networking and security business unit, told CRN Friday.

"He brings the breadth of background needed for this type of position," Casado said. "And he is somewhat of an icon who is well known and has credibility and respect in the industry."

Appenzeller is VMware's second big NSX hire in the past few weeks.

Dominick Delfino, a 14-year Cisco veteran who was vice president of worldwide data center and virtualization systems engineering, joined VMware Sept. 22.

Casado said Delfino -- who was a key part of Cisco's UCS and ACI sales efforts -- was brought in to help scale VMware's NSX business, which now accounts for $100 million in revenue and includes a large number of paying customers.

Casado said Appenzeller will take over the role that he held before being promoted to lead VMware's networking and security business in August.

"If I could have anyone in the world who can do this better than I can, it would be Guido. I truly believe he can do better than I did," Casado said.

VMware doesn't plan to announce any additional major hires in the foreseeable future, but it will continue to be aggressive in hiring top talent, Casado said.

PUBLISHED OCT. 3, 2014

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