Sindhu made the announcement yesterday afternoon on Juniper’s blog, noting that he will remain Juniper‘s executive vice president and will take the role of chief scientist. He’s stepping down as CTO, though, once Juniper finds a replacement.
Sindhu also will stop being vice chairman of Juniper‘s board in favor of a smaller role as technical adviser.
Juniper won’t be left wanting for technological knowhow, writes analyst Simona Jankowski of Goldman Sachs. In a research note this morning, she points to Sindhu’s continued role as chief scientist and CEO Rami Rahim’s own technical background.
Moreover, “given Juniper‘s shift toward more software-based solutions, this may be an opportunity to tap a CTO with more domain expertise in software, vs. Dr. Sindhu’s background in semiconductors and systems design,” she writes.
Fungible hasn’t revealed what it’s working on, but it does seem to involve semiconductors. The startup’s other two founders are Krishna Yarlagadda, president of chip firm Imagination Technologies and an investor in chip startup Innovium, and Bertrand Serlet, a former Xerox PARC researcher and Apple software engineer.
Fungible’s website lists three individual investors who come from the semiconductor industry. Amarjit Gill and Dan Dobberpuhl were both founders of processor vendor SiByte, which was acquired by Broadcom in 2000. Lip-Bu Tan is CEO of Cadence Design Systems, which makes software used in designing chips. He’s also on the board of WiFi chip vendor Quantenna.
Sindhu himself is known for big-picture thinking, and he definitely scored a hit with Juniper, which was founded in 1996 to combat Cisco in the router market. Juniper succeeded in that goal, spending years as a clear No. 2 behind Cisco’s dominant market position.
Sindhu’s other big-picture ideas might have been a little too big. In 2003, he and Juniper launched the Infranet Initiative, an industrywide attempt to bring ubiquitous quality-of-service to Internet data delivery, but that project ended up scaling back its goals. The project was renamed IPsphere and eventually became part of the TM Forum.
In 2011, Juniper launched QFabric, the company’s new initiative to rethink the data center fabric; the launch event included a chalk talk by Sindhu for the media. But QFabric was relatively late to market and never caught on, although its related switches (the QFX series) remain key pieces of Juniper’s portfolio.
Finally, Sindhu, like many of his colleagues, was skeptical about software-defined networking (SDN) when it first emerged. Juniper finally jumped into that market with the acquisition of Contrail, but the handling of that deal reportedly alienated some of Juniper’s engineering staff.