Cisco poaching rivals for SDN spin-in

Insieme -- aka, Insiemi -- takes a different tack on recruitment

Insieme Networks - the proper name of the SDN start-up that may be spun into Cisco - is actively recruiting people from around the Valley, according to two posts in the blogosphere this week. The recruits are not just coming from Cisco: SDNs start-ups Nicira and Big Switch have reportedly been hit, and Arista is targeted but says it hasn't lost anyone yet.

GigaOm reports that Insieme - not Insiemi, as previously reported (I'll buy an "e") - and Cisco are offering nearly $2 million as an eventual pay-off to engineers and executives willing to jump to the gestating rival. GigaOm counts five turncoats so far - four from Nicira, which did its own Cisco poaching recently.

UPDATE: Nicira Co-founder and CTO Martin Casado says the company has not lost anyone to Insieme.

This marks a change in the Cisco spin-in strategy: two others - Andiamo, which made SAN switches, and Nuova for the Nexus 5000 - recruited from within Cisco. This produced a lot of resentment among the Cisco engineers who were not picked for the spin-in, and this may have prodded Cisco into taking a different tack this time, notes Twilight in the Valley of the Nerds.

Or not. Here's a longtime Cisco engineer that jumped to Insieme this month.

Nerds also notes - and this is an excellent point - that since Cisco is building a software-defined networking product line at Insieme, it needs to recruit software talent. Cisco is a hardware company looking to build up its software expertise; it's not likely it can do that from within.

Whatever the motivation, Insieme's practices are apparently being taken none too kind. But better to poison the well of your neighbor than your own.

In other Cisco news, the company released a slew of security advisories this week on vulnerabilities in its IOS software. There are nine advisories in all, including IOS vulnerabilities with: Internet Key Exchanges, Network Address Translation, Zone-based Firewalling, RSVP Denial of Service, Multicast Discovery, and Traffic Optimization.

In each case, Cisco says it is not aware of any malicious use of the vulnerability. The holes were brought to light through internal testing, customer troubleshooting and notification from customers.

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