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IBM Loses Big Names in an SDN Brain Drain

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IBM Loses Big Names in an SDN Brain Drain

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IBM appears to be losing significant talent on the software-defined networking (SDN) front, the latest departure being Vijoy Pandey, SDNCentral has learned.

Pandey (pictured above) was an distinguished engineer at IBM and its CTO of network operating systems — and one of the company’s key contributors in SDN; he was among the group that created the OpenDaylight Project, for instance. He’s left Big Blue to join Google.

Pandey’s exit follows that of Colin Dixon, another prominent voice in SDN. Dixon, who left last week to join Brocade, was one of the names behind the Dixon-Erickson proposal, which became the foundation for the OpenDaylight SDN controller.

Anees Shaikh, IBM’s chief SDN architect, left in January to become a network architect at Google. He, too, was involved in the creation of OpenDaylight.

Linking SDN and Cloud

It seems likely the departures were spurred by the uncertainty around the sale of IBM’s networking business to Lenovo; the SDN business wasn’t included, but its fate also wasn’t clear (not to the outside world, anyway) as the deal took shape.

“It’s always a painful period when you have a part of the team that gets split out,” says Inder Gopal, IBM’s vice president of network development, who ran both the sold-off network hardware business and the still-at-IBM software business. (He’s also an OpenDaylight board member.) “There are always people who feel it’s time for a change.”

IBM will continue development on its Software Defined Networking for Virtual Environments (SDN VE), but that work has been moved into IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure group.

“All the things in context with SDN deployment — they now essentially become integrated into our cloud proposition,” Gopal says, describing the strategy as: “You battle-harden things in your service offering and then you deliver product.” Microsoft seems to do something similar with Azure, initially developing technologies with Azure in mind before applying them to the general case.


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