Big Switch Co-Founder Rob Sherwood is leaving the company and joining Facebook, he said Friday.
"I owe A LOT to SDN and to Big Switch, but I've made the difficult decision to go back to my roots," Sherwood says in a post to Big Switch Networks ' blog. "I want to be in a lab. I want to look at a seemingly unsolvable problem and prove the naysayers wrong, yet again. Given the success of the technology and Big Switch's current trajectory, I've decided now is the right time."
Sherwood was a member of the Stanford University Clean Slate Lab in 2008, which launched pioneering SDN research. He co-founded Big Switch in 2010.
In Sherwood's blog post, he lists several milestones: Moving SDN from an academic project to commercial technology, deploying it in production and scaling from the data center to the WAN and to installations of up to 100 racks of equipment.
"In retrospect, much of my personal motivation has come from people telling me what SDN can't do," Sherwood says. "As the company and the technology scale up, the naysayers are running out of credibly negative things to say. SDN is no longer a crazy idea. It's a real, viable technology that will forever change the face of networking and Big Switch is leading this disruption."
Big Switch was an early SDN champion, a high-flying startup that was cheered as a company that was going to take down Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Later, Big Switch became an example of a business principle expounded by Ralph Waldo Emerson ("When you strike at a king, you must kill him"), Omar from The Wire ("Come at the King, you best not miss") and Cercei Lannister from Game of Thrones ("When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die").
Big Switch neither won nor died, but it did pivot, bringing in a new CEO, Doug Murray, in late 2013, and it narrowing its focus to developing fabrics for network measurement and cloud deployment. (See Murray Leads Big Switch Into Bare Metal Battle.)
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— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud