As SDN talent continues to shift around the industry, Brocade seems to be hoovering up more than its share of people, especially those connected to the OpenDaylight Project. The latest addition is Colin Dixon, an IBM researcher who arrived last Friday and whose hiring was announced by Brocade this morning.
Brocade might not be amassing an SDN “army” — the team of “hardcore” SDN warriors is only about 10 people, Dixon says — but it’s clearly trying to become a force in SDN and specifically in OpenDaylight.
Remember that Brocade also hired David Meyer, chair of the OpenDaylight Technical Steering Committee, away from Cisco. More recently, Brocade picked up Kevin Woods, former head of Cisco’s onePK initiative, and engineers Thomas Nadeau and Benson Schliesser from Juniper.
(Separately, as we noted yesterday, Dixon’s move is part of an apparent brain drain at IBM’s networking software group.)
Dixon has been particularly active in OpenDaylight, and he says his arrival is part of Brocade’s effort to get more deeply involved in the project. He’ll continue spending 60 to 70 percent of his time working with the OpenDaylight community, he estimates.
While going out of his way to praise IBM’s research division (“You can work on pretty much whatever you want”), Dixon says he couldn’t resist the chance to work at a company with “more wood behind the single arrow” of SDN. “When you have the opportunity to work with a bunch of people who get it, you don’t say no,” he says.
Brocade and Extreme Networks were among the companies to embrace SDN fairly early on. By 2011, both were touting the potential behind OpenFlow — and why not? Both saw OpenFlow as a way to cut into Cisco’s hegemony in switching, and neither company had a hefty market share to lose if the SDN revolution really took hold.
Brocade has good products but gets low “consideration” from customers, says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research. But SDN represents a transition point that the company can take advantage of, aided by a head start that the industry got when Cisco was initially slow to respond to SDN.
“I’m a firm believer that market share gains only come when there’s a market transition,” Kerravala says. “When this trend turns into purchasing by customers, Brocade will have mindshare there.”
This goes not only for the data center but also for the carrier market, where Brocade has improved its standing considerably in recent years, writes Ray Mota of ACG Research in an email.
“Brocade is making a strong conscious effort around the SDN and NFV,” Mota writes. “As long as they could take all of that talent and map them to value driven use cases, they will have a good chance to make some good revenue.”
(Photo: Nabbed from Dixon’s Twitter feed.)