AWS Hires SDN/NFV Pioneer

SDN/NFV pioneer Tetsuya Nakamura, until recently at CableLabs, has jumped ship to Amazon Web Services. Meanwhile, another SDN/NFV pioneer from CableLabs, Don Clarke, is taking time off.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

April 2, 2019

3 Min Read
AWS Hires SDN/NFV Pioneer

Two pioneers of the software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) community have left CableLabs, the US cable sector's R&D body. Intriguingly, Tetsuya Nakamura has joined Amazon Web Services, where he's now working as part of the telecom-focused team, while Don Clarke says he's taking time off from the industry.

Specifically, Nakamura is currently a partner solutions architect for AWS, effective from March, according to his LinkedIn profile. Clarke's LinkedIn profile lists him as leaving CableLabs the same month, and "enjoying a career break to recharge."

Nakamura led CableLabs' open source research efforts on NFV and SDN and led NTT DoCoMo's mobile network virtualization project from 2011 to 2014, as well as serving as NFV-ISG vice-chairman at ETSI and undertaking various roles at OPNFV and OpenDaylight.

Clarke was one of the original authors of the ETSI white paper that launched the NFV vision in 2012, when the Brit was still at BT.

News of their departure from CableLabs was first reported by Fierce Telecom on Monday.

NFV is, of course, a natural fit for AWS. NFV started with a vision to run network functions on commodity hardware rather than purpose-built appliances, but, in a natural step, advocates now seek to run virtual network functions (VNFs) on cloud platforms -- private, hybrid, or public. And nobody's got a bigger public cloud than AWS.

AWS doesn't talk much in public about its plans for the telco sector, but, like the other major cloud platform giants, it's seeking to expand its portfolio of products and services tailored for communications service providers and vendors and is known to have hired a number of staff with telecom networking experience. Former Ericsson executive Jean-Philippe Poirault is the VP of the Worldwide Telecom Industry Business Unit at Amazon. Industry executives Light Reading has talked to say that unit is already sizeable and growing and that AWS knows what it needs to do to meet the needs of telcos.

And there's lots more for AWS to do. It has already launched a number of services, such as its Global Accelerator connectivity offering, while prospective demand from telcos for edge computing capabilities seems an obvious area for AWS to explore.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is more vocal about courting telcos. (See Microsoft: 5G's Killer App 'Is Staring Telcos in the Face'.)

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We've got queries in to both men, as well as AWS and CableLabs, to find out what the personnel changes mean to the two organizations' overall strategies.

Clarke and Nakamura's departure come in the same month that longtime CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown announced he plans to retire in August. Belal Hamzeh, previously VP of wireless technology at CableLabs, has been promoted to CTO. (See CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown sets his exit.)

For more on AWS and telecoms, see:

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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