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SDN architectures

Cisco SDN Expert Leaves for Brocade

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) has hired a software-defined networking (SDN) expert out of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), continuing a flow of top engineers changing jobs to take advantage of SDN opportunities.

David Meyer, who'd been named a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, is now CTO and chief scientist of Brocade's service provider business, reporting to Ken Cheng, vice president of the Routing, Application Delivery and Software Networking Group.

Brocade announced Meyer's appointment Thursday, saying he'll be advising Tier 1 service providers on cloud architectures and other next-generation concerns. He'll also continue his work in standards bodies, where he's been focusing on SDN and the OpenFlow protocol.

Why this matters
These aren't the kinds of moves that will topple empires by themselves. But they do indicate just how seriously people and companies are taking SDN. Monumental changes could be afoot, and the job-hopping adds to the buzz.

Meyer is the latest among a handful of key people jumping ship out of bigger companies for SDN's sake. Standing out among those names is Kireeti Kompella, who left Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) for startup Contrail. (One former Juniper employee notes that Kompella might have been influenced by Juniper's overall situation, rather than the SDN opportunity by itself.)

Startups aren't the only destination, however. Late last year, Juniper lost routing-protocols expert David Ward to Cisco (where he'd previously worked). Ward is now playing a crucial role in Cisco's SDN planning.

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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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