SDN Watch: Embrane Nabs Cisco, Dimension Data Channel Execs

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Two well-known, channel-focused executives from Cisco and Dimension Data are joining software-defined networking (SDN) startup Embrane, CRN has learned.

Jon Beck is now Embrane's senior vice president, worldwide field operations. An 18-year industry veteran, Beck was most recently at global integrator Dimension Data, where he ran global sales and field operations for Dimension Data's cloud business unit. He had joined the integrator during its 2011 acquisition of managed hosting provider OpSource, whose channel program he spearheaded.

Meanwhile, Susheel Chitre is now Embrane's vice president of business development, in charge of the company's strategic partnerships. A 20-year industry veteran, Chitre was previously director of the cloud go-to-market strategy for Cisco and created and drove the launch of Cisco's well-received Cloud Partner Program.

[Related: 13 SDN Startups To Keep An Eye On In 2013]

Embrane confirmed details of the hires to CRN and said they'll be formally announced this week.

"Jon and Susheel bring a wealth of enterprise knowledge and sales and go-to-market expertise that will help fuel [our] growth, as well as build out our technology and go-to-market channel programs to leverage economies of scale," Dante Malagrino, Embrane co-founder and CEO, said in a statement emailed to CRN.

Embrane, based in Santa Clara, Calif., was founded in 2009 and has taken in about $28 million in funding.

In December 2011, the company launched Heleos, which takes the SDN trend's programmable, flexible networking discussion into Layer 4-7 networking, including load balancing, firewall and VPN. In essence, cloud providers and enterprise users can leverage Heleos to provide IaaS functions in private, hybrid and public cloud environments.

Customers pay for it using one of several licensing plans, either via subscription or on a usage-based model. Heleos runs on standard x86 servers and works with virtualization technologies from all major hypervisor providers, according to the company.

Both Malagrino and Marco Di Benedetto, Embrane co-founder and CTO, are Cisco alumni, and both worked on the engineering teams for Cisco "spin-in" data center acquisitions Andiamo Systems and Nuova Systems.

Both executive moves and acquisition activity relevant to SDN startups are expected to pick up in 2013 as the SDN trend reaches the mainstream. Several SDN and network virtualization startups, including Nicira, Contrail Systems and Vyatta, were acquired by big tech companies in 2012, and several more emerged from stealth mode or entered the North America market in the past few months.

Speaking at the Raymond James IT Supply Chain conference in New York last month, Malagrino said that the use-case elements of SDN technologies will get lost in the marketing hype if companies aren't more careful in their approach.

"Education is the biggest challenge right now," he said at the time. "It will get even more challenging. Everyone has a play in SDN."


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