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Verizon's Elby to Head Infinera's Cloud Team

Carol Wilson

Long-time Verizon executive Stuart Elby has left the carrier to join Infinera, where he will head up the transport equipment vendor's new cloud network strategy and technology team. (See Infinera Appoints Elby As Cloud Guru.)

Elby, who was most recently vice-president and chief technologist of Verizon Labs, was often the public face of Verizon's exploratory efforts into new technologies and network architectures, including most recently its work in cloud platforms and virtualization.

He is also the second top Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) technologist to leave the carrier in recent months for the vendor world, following the move of Prodip Sen, Verizon's NFV guru, who now leads HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s NFV efforts. (See HP Looks to Conquer Carriers With NFV.)

At Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), Elby will head up a new group focused on the transport infrastructure requirements of data center operators, the network operators that connect them and the growing ecosystem of companies developing systems that enable cloud services. This segment has become a major focus for telecom service providers and prompted other moves within the vendor community, including a significant effort by Cisco. (See Cisco Aims for '#1' in Hybrid Cloud.)

Need to know more about network functions virtualization and the cloud? Then check out the agenda for NFV and the Data Center, September 16 at the Santa Clara Marriott, Calif.

The congenial Elby is very familiar with the packet-optical transport technology sector as he was known for his work on Verizon's metro and long-haul network architectures, particularly as they evolved to support cloud services. He was also a key figure in developing the Verizon Digital Media Services approach to distributing content.

Elby is also likely to be quite familiar with Infinera and its products. Before deciding on Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) for a major 100G transport deal, Verizon reportedly had Infinera on its shortlist. The newly minted Infinera exec also has spoken at Infinera events in the past. (See Analyst: Infinera Loses VZ Deal to AlcaLu and Finisar Intros 1x20 WSS.)

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
8/6/2014 | 12:03:08 PM
Re: exec failure
nothing to share that isn't out there already, just putting 2 and 2 together when looking at the articles and announcements.  The main guy who was leading it left after three years and there was never much after the big splash announcements, now you see other execs leaving, Linked In indicates people who were former VDMS, then you see all these recent purchases and partners of companies when strung together appear to do the same thing they tried to do. Never saw any announcements of a real product or customers. Also read about Redbox Streaming not being profitable. 

This article talks about them spending 370M in 2012, so I am sure it's double that by now. The exec also left.






Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/6/2014 | 10:42:03 AM
Re: exec failure
I was aware of a brain drain a few years ago at Verizon - many of their long-time network gurus left, mostly due to a change in the law regarding retirement and pensions, but this is an interesting statement regarding VDMS, and if you want to share any info, please email me: wilson@lightreading.com.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/6/2014 | 10:31:42 AM
exec failure
There has been a huge brain drain and even more at the lower levels you don't see. All because of some really bad exec decisions with the whole VDMS and CDN initiatives. I have seen many articles about this. Spent billions and years and failed so they are trying to save it by buying all these smaller companies (oncue, uplynk, edgecast) and the end result was losing hundreds of really good execs, engineers, technologist, product and project managers. Meanwhile the ones who make the bad decisions get promoted. All because they keep hiring execs from outside of the business who have no clue how to build and integrate networks and systems so they hire consultants and pour money into the pit with no value return. 
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/5/2014 | 2:56:52 PM
Re: Smart marketing move

Interesting thought - I can't see any wild swings or changes. Even with things in flux, companies like Verizon make very measured decisions. But it will be interesting to see where the virtualization strategy goes now with Prodip Sen no longer there and where the networking strategy goes post-Elby.

It's also worth noting that Stu Elby was doing more work on the digital media side, of late. 
sam masud
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/5/2014 | 2:48:54 PM
Re: Smart marketing move
A definite win for Infinera but I wonder how much it will damage VZ since his successor might have a very different vision when it comes to new technologies. Of course, s/he might stay the course, but that would be a surprise given that new technologies themselves are in a flux.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/5/2014 | 11:52:42 AM
Re: Smart marketing move
I agree, Ray. Particularly given his most recent activity, Elby is probably very well-suited to talk to other service providers about how their networks need to evolve to better handle data center traffic. 

Every service provider I talk to is working in this direction - connecting data centers, that is -- and trying to determine where to best store content, apps and data and how to provide the most flexibility in bandwidth to those sites. 
User Rank: Blogger
8/5/2014 | 11:27:39 AM
Smart marketing move
THis looks like a very smart move on Infinera's part.... that's a high profile name who can provide unique insight into the needs of Tier 1 players and take a message to market that everyone will listen to.
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