Big Switch Is About to Get Bigger
Big Switch Networks gave SDNCentral a preview of executive appointments that they will be announcing formally tomorrow, and gave us permission to make this available to our readership prior to the release going on the wire.
Jason Matlof, who recently left Battery Ventures, and whom we predicted would go to an SDN startup, will be Big Switch Networks’ VP of Marketing. Dave Butler, formerly of VSS Monitoring, Aruba Networks and FORE Systems, has joined as their new VP of Sales.
When we spoke with Jason and Dave late last week, we had a chance to get their take on why they both joined Big Switch Networks, and what their take on SDN was.
SDNCentral: What made you decide to jump onto the SDN bandwagon, and join a startup like Big Switch?
Jason: “I felt that the disruption caused by software-defined networking will create an enormous opportunity. I’ve been watching what’s going on and SDN is definitely a significant change in the industry. I see that Big Switch has a strategic position in the marketplace with strong roots from the origins of SDN and great commercial leadership.”
Dave: “I’ve been in networking forever. Always found myself competing with Cisco but never ended up there. I see lots of focus on SDN controllers in the marketplace. And I see great opportunity, especially around applications. We know that the existing Internet would not be as interesting without the applications, and what we’re going to be announcing soon is an open, flexible platform for SDN applications.”
SDNCentral: We’ve heard multiple times about Big Switch being an open-platform, but if you could share your view of your open-source strategy and what it is similar to (RedHat, Zimbra, MySQL), that would help us and our readers understand what to expect.
Jason: “Big Switch is the only pure-play control platform, but one that supports open standards, is open source and exposes open APIs. This was the vision that was there when it had its start in academia and is a vision we hold today. Most other platforms and controllers are closed and platform-dependent. Our key differentiation is in being open, and it puts our partners at ease because they are not locked into a vendor specific platform.
Our model is best viewed as an open core model. We have a core platform that is open-sourced, but we build other features and functionality like HA, scalability etc around that. Our value proposition is therefore different from RedHat and MySQL.”
SDNCentral: In terms of building an ecosystem, one challenge with a platform player that’s also selling applications is potential conflict with your 3rd-party application partners–what’s to stop you from competing with their applications. What’s your view on this?
Jason: “You’ll see one application from us really soon—a simple and wonderful application. But our view is that we will want to find many partners for our Northbound API. There’s definitely enough room for everyone to play, and partnerships play a big role in our go-to-market strategy. One way to look at it is that we are an OS, like Microsoft, and there can be literally thousands of applications that can run on the platform.”
Dave: “And think about Cisco’s business and how much money they make today in their entire suite of applications. Imagine all that running on an open controller platform.”
SDNCentral: What do you think is your biggest challenge as you step into your new roles at Big Switch?
Jason: “To be perfectly candid, what we are doing is much more disruptive than 99.7% of the startups out there. So we have to be laser-focused on the applications. Our goal is to sell the vision of SDN and the opportunity but walk the fine line of showing immediate value as well. If we can find the killer applications with discrete value proposition, we will succeed.”
SDNCentral: Thank you both for your time and we wish you the best of luck in your new appointments!
Big Switch’s press release follows:
Big Switch Networks Appoints Network Industry Veterans to Lead Marketing and Sales Efforts as SDN Market Explodes
PALO ALTO, CA – October 9, 2012 – Big Switch Networks™, the leading platform-independent Software-Defined Networking (SDN) company appointed Jason Matlof as VP of Marketing and Dave Butler as VP of Sales as the company prepares to launch and ship its first commercial products.
“It is gratifying to see that every major infrastructure vendor is making SDN announcements, because it’s an enormous validation of our development efforts with partners and customers. We are now ramping our sales and marketing efforts, and are pleased to bring on experienced executives with long track records like Jason Matlof and Dave Butler to join our executive team,” said Guido Appenzeller, CEO and co-founder of Big Switch Networks.
Jason Matlof joins Big Switch Networks as VP of Marketing with over 16 years of experience in the networking industry and building early stage technology start-ups. Jason started his career in the mid-1990s at Cisco Systems, where he managed the product management team for the company’s multi-billion dollar family of fixed-configuration Catalyst switches.
After leaving Cisco in 2001, Jason was appointed VP of Marketing and Business Development at Neoteris, an early-stage network security start-up, where he developed the company’s product strategy and established market leadership within the emerging SSL VPN product category. Following rapid growth, Neoteris was acquired for $295M by NetScreen Technologies. Jason served briefly as VP of Marketing for Remote Access Products at Netscreen, which was subsequently acquired by Juniper Networks. Following the successful exit of Neoteris, Jason became an early stage investor and Partner at Battery Ventures where he helped build eight early stage start-ups.
Jason has a BA with honors from UCLA and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Dave Butler joins Big Switch Networks after a distinguished career building and leading sales organizations in networking, software, and supercomputer companies. Dave was VP of Sales and Business Development at Aruba Networks, leading up to a multi-billion dollar IPO. He was also VP of International Sales at FORE Systems and also led FORE’s Federal subsidiary after supporting US intelligence agencies with expertise in real-time networking, multi-data center supercomputing, and global information dissemination. Dave was also VP of Sales at Berkeley Networks, VP of Sales at Fast Forward and most recently VP of Worldwide Sales at VSS Monitoring, leading the company’s sales growth prior to its acquisition by Danaher Corporation.
Dave received a BS in Computer Science from Purdue University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. He completed his graduate research at NASA’s Langley Research Center, where his contributions to real-time networking were published in the Transactions of the IEEE and recognized by the Association of Computing Machinery for best research at the Master’s degree level. Dave received a commendation from the National Security Agency and a corporate Technical Achievement Award from IBM CEO John Akers for innovation in the use of multi-processor signal processing for Federal customers.
About Big Switch Networks
Big Switch Networks is the leading platform-independent Software-Defined Networking (SDN) company. It’s Open SDNTM architecture leverages industry standards and open APIs that enable customers to deploy dynamic and flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization. Big Switch Networks Open SDN architecture has enabled a large ecosystem of physical and virtual switching partners, and has accelerated industry-wide development of networking applications to meet a variety of customer needs. Big Switch Networks was founded in 2010, and its commercial controller, network virtualization and applications are in customer trials today.