Editorial & Analysis
Also by this author
16 Jan 2013
Company’s probable future strategy seems a little clearer as former Xsigo boss steps in to take the reins at networking company that recently bought Vyatta.
Lloyd Carney has been named as CEO at Brocade Communications, with immediate effect. He takes the reins of the networking company from Mike Klayko, who announced back in August 2012 that he would be step down once his replacement had been found. As well as the CEO role, Carney will also sit on Brocade’s board of directors.
“I believe Brocade is poised to leverage its heritage of strong innovation and significantly disrupt the status quo in the data networking industry,” said Carney, in a public statement. “There are profound changes happening across high tech today and Brocade has a great opportunity to lead that transformation through differentiated products and customer focus. Success here will accelerate profitable growth for our company and drive further value for our shareholders. I am very excited and honoured to lead Brocade at this time.
Speeches aside, a couple of things stand out about Carney’s appointment. First, Brocade has been the subject of buyout speculation for years - and Carney’s recent track record shows him to be adept at negotiating buyouts for companies he’s led in the past. Most recently, in his role as CEO of data centre fabric virtualisation specialist Xsigo, he oversaw the company’s July 2012 sale to Oracle. Before that, he sold network management company Micromuse to IBM back in 2005. Brocade may or may not be seeking a buyer. If it is, however, it has a more experienced executive in place now to make a deal happen.
If it’s not seeking a buyer, however, there’s something else that stands out about this deal: as former CEO at Xsigo, Carney may be a very good person to help Brocade make the most of its November 2012 acquisition of Vyatta. The two start-ups had a history of working together prior to their acquisitions by Oracle and Brocade, respectively: the combination of Vyatta’s network operating system for connecting physical, virtual and cloud environments and Xsigo’s Server Fabric technology for virtual connectivity in data centres has formed the basis of a partnership between the two since mid-2011 and represents a pretty powerful proposition for software-defined networks (SDNs), say analysts. This is an area in which Brocade must make headway - and fast - so more expertise in this area can only be a good thing.
Also working in Carney’s favour will be the fact that he’s already got powerful allies at Brocade, having worked for the chairman of Brocade’s board of directors, David House, while House was CEO at Bay Networks in the late 1990s.
“After a thorough and robust search process, the Board believes that Mr Carney is the ideal leader to take Brocade to the next level,” said House, in a public statement. The nature of that ‘next level’ - whether it’s the sale of the company or an acceleration of its SDN strategy - is still wide open to speculation, however.