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Brocade lands a big Cisco fish

Distinguished Engineer Meyer was looking for a new challenge, OpenFlow/SDN focus

Brocade has landed a rather big fish in its pond: David Meyer, Distinguished Engineer at Cisco has jumped to the data center rival to serve as service provider CTO and chief scientist. Meyer is known for his work and thoughts on software-defined networking (SDN), Internet routing and OpenFlow, and will be integral to Brocade's cloud networking, routing and application delivery strategy.

Meyer will be responsible for working with Tier-1 service providers, cloud hosting providers and Web 2.0 content providers, consulting on development of cloud-optimized network architectures. He will also continue to be highly visible and vocal industrywide on topics such as Ethernet fabrics, routing and SDN, Brocade says.

Meyer participates in a number of industry associations, including the IETF, NANOG and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He has held a number of leadership positions within these groups throughout his career, and currently serves as the Chair of IETF's Domain Name Server Operations and MBONE Deployment Working Group, as well as the Co-Chair of the Forwarding Abstractions Group at ONF.

As a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, Meyer focused on examining the role of OpenFlow and SDN within the enterprise and service provider markets. Cisco has downplayed the role of OpenFlow in programmable networking, viewing it as currently limited to network slicing applications in research and education environments.

Meyer doesn't necessarily see it that way. Indeed, Brocade is very bullish on OpenFlow as a key enabler of SDNs.

 "I think it will have applicability beyond research and education," Meyer says of OpenFlow. "In the Layer 2 world, you can do a lot of stuff with OpenFlow," such as optimizing the networking capabilities in a data center with edge classification, service chaining and service engineered paths, he says.

OpenFlow's decoupled control plane/data plane architecture will also help introduce new kinds of networking capabilities into the network programming language community of distributed systems and distributed databases, Meyer says.

"The controller is logically centralized to build resiliency and scale in the network," he says.

Meyer liked Brocade's enthusiasm for OpenFlow and its focus on SDNs. He jumped there after 15 years at Cisco because, he says, he was looking for new challenge.

Taking Cisco into the era of SDNs and programmable networking, and implementing the company's Cisco ONE programmability architecture across its three major operating systems wasn't enough of a challenge?

"It's certainly challenging," Meyer says, "but I wanted to work in a different environment with different dynamics. How nimble can you be" at a $45 billion company?

Before his 15 years at Cisco, Meyer spent four at Sprint, where he was a senior scientist and chief technologist. At Brocade he will report to Ken Cheng, vice president and general manager of the company's routing, application delivery and software networking group.

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