Brocade, the networking technology vendor that has been making a concerted push into the increasingly competitive software-defined networking space, will now be led by an executive who last ran a company that specialized in data center virtualization.
Brocade announced Jan. 14 that Lloyd Carney, who last was CEO of Xsigo Systems, will take over the top spot at Brocade. He will replace Michael Klayko, who became the company’s CEO in 2005 and announced in August 2012 that he would resign from the position once a successor was named.
Carney was head of Xsigo until it was bought by Oracle in July 2012, part of a larger consolidation trend in the SDN and network virtualization space as data center solution vendors look to expand their offerings. David House, chairman of Brocade’s board of directors, said the company is looking to Carney to help push the company forward.
"After a thorough and robust search process, the board believes that Mr. Carney is the ideal leader to take Brocade to the next level,” House said in a statement. "Mr. Carney has a relentless passion for driving innovation and operational excellence. These characteristics, combined with his track record of execution including delivering growth and increasing shareholder value, make him an outstanding choice to lead Brocade into its next phase."
SDN will play a key role in that next phase. Brocade has been aggressively expanding its capabilities in this space, which is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years. At the company’s Analyst and Technology Day event in September 2012, Brocade officials announced that they were growing their VDX line of network switches and rolling out a new 24-port, 10 Gigabit Ethernet module for its MLXe Series routers that is designed to enable SDN environments.
A month later, Brocade officials announced that they had hired David Meyer, a 15-year engineering veteran at rival Cisco Systems who had focused on SDNs and the OpenFlow protocol, as CTO and chief scientist for its server provider business. In November 2012, Brocade bought Vyatta, whose technology touched on SDNs, network virtualization and cloud computing.
In a statement, Carney said he was confident Brocade would become a key player in the transformation of the networking space.
"I believe Brocade is poised to leverage its heritage of strong innovation and significantly disrupt the status quo in the data-networking industry," Carney said. "There are profound changes happening across high tech today and Brocade has a great opportunity to lead that transformation through differentiated products and customer focus. Success here will accelerate profitable growth for our company and drive further value for our shareholders. I am very excited and honored to lead Brocade at this time."
Prior to Xsigo, Carney had been CEO of Micromuse, a network management software vendor that was bought by IBM and integrated into Big Blue’s Tivoli platform, and also held positions with Juniper Networks as its COO and Nortel Networks as president of its Core IP, Wireless Internet and Enterprise divisions. He also worked at Bay Networks.
Software-defined networking is gaining a lot of attention from both tech vendors and businesses. The premise behind the technology is to remove much of the network intelligence—from security and billing to inventory and traffic management—off of expensive and complex switches and other hardware appliances and put it instead into software-based controllers. The goal is to create networks that are more dynamic, flexible, scalable and cost-efficient, and are easier to program.
Established networking vendors, from Cisco and Hewlett-Packard to Juniper and Extreme Networks, are pushing SDN and network virtualization strategies, while startups like Big Switch Networks an Adara are bringing their own solutions to the market. Meanwhile, some vendors are looking to grow their SDN capabilities through acquisitions as well. Brocade and Oracle bought companies, following on VMware’s $1.26 billion acquisition of Nicira last year.
The numbers show why. IDC analysts in December said SDN revenues driven by sales to enterprises and cloud service providers will hit $360 million this year, and will grow to $3.7 billion by 2016. Those numbers includes sales of everything SDN-related, from the associated network infrastructure and applications to control plane solutions and professional services, according to the analysts.