Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's a Whole New Ball Game!

The networking industry is experiencing tremendous change as we speak.  Cloud, Convergence, Merchant Silicon, Server Virtualization, IT as a Service, and Software Defined Network are all contributing to the macro environment change in the network industry.

Just a couple of years ago, I could hardly run into any networking admins dying for a disruptive technology in their backyard, but things are the opposite right now. They may not have fully grasped the implications of the private cloud just yet but network admins across the board are basically asking two questions these days:

1) Who can give me a solution so that I'm no longer constantly on the hot seat with ever increasing network add/change/remove requirements without a budget increase?

2) Who can give me a product to make me look like a champion just like VMware did to server admins 6-7 years ago?

The VMware networking team has innovated on the server side of the fence for much of last decade but nothing sexy happened on the physical networking side of the fence.   It's a whole new ball game now because the perfect storm of macro changes arrived.  As a passionate networking system guy, I simply cannot resist joining the new exciting game!

My decision to join Big Switch Networks was a no-brainer after realizing that it is the unique company that 1) understands the game; 2) has a sound ecosystem strategy to play the game; and 3) has an amazingly talented bench to win the game.

I'm game!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Missing VMware and VMworld 2011

Congratulations to VMware on another overwhelmingly successful VMworld -- VMware demonstrated once again where to find the center of the technology universe circa 2011.

I left VMware, hence missed this event live for the first time since 2005.  However VMware and VMworld will always have a special place in my heart, as I was fortunate enough to work at VMware for 9 years and serve VMworld in 6 consecutive years.

1) I witnessed vSphere grow from nowhere to one of the most critical infrastructure software on the planet.   I also made my own impact in getting 250,000 customers and majority network ecosystem to embrace virtual networking.  What more one can ask from such a rewarding and thrilling journey?

2) During the 9+ years, almost every one of the ESX/vSphere pioneers taught me so much about building a rock solid system software via thorough code and design review;  every networking team member from interns to PE/Sr. Staffs gave me fresh perspectives day in and day out; engineers from our Beijing R&D center kept reminding me what a passionate and intelligent team we have 5000 miles away; Charles and Steve et al showed by example there is so much innovation in seemingly boring managerial tasks; Ray, Andy, Raghu et al encouraged me to be bold and think big.   I simply cannot thank everyone enough for your mentoring and blessing along the journey!

3) I also got to see my colleagues grow not only career-wise but also in their lives outside work: 9-year is long enough for me to see many then young college graduates getting married and now raising a family; many coworkers' little boys and girls now grown up and getting ready for college time.   We achieved milestones one after another -- I miss you all and I will continue to cheer and pray for you.

4) I had privilege to give talks on virtual networking in front of many hundreds of passionate customers every single year prior to 2011.  I was on vacation this year but AFAICT from blogsphere, there is probably more excitement about virtual networking this VMworld!  Congratulations again to the networking team at VMware.

Even though I have already moved on, I am looking forward to seeing my alma mata company accomplish a bigger goal, my brothers and sisters keeping having fun & excitement for a very long time to come, and I do want to be a proud and grateful VMware alumni for life time.