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VMware networking R&D head jumps ship

VMware’s director of networking research and development is now with a new company, Big Switch

Howie Xu was with VMware for nine years before making the move. He will lead the R&D unit at Big Switch, which is an OpenFlow company; OpenFlow is a software-defined networking protocol that introduces a management broker above the network to do sophisticated routing.

Xu was last publicly visible at VMworld 2010, discussing a network virtualization platform dubbed vChassis, which would have used plug-ins to a new software layer to manage networking elements of the infrastructure.

A VMware product by this name has yet to see the light of day; Xu’s departure could be seen as another sign that there has been a shift in VMware’s strategy on this front.

The news comes as VMware moves forward with a new IETF standard for network virtualization, VXLAN. This spec is designed to tunnel layer 2 traffic over layer 3 IP networks for better virtual LAN scalability and virtual machine mobility across data centers.

Network virtualization is considered the next frontier in virtualized infrastructure, and both VMware and Microsoft are now competing in this space race, using separate traffic encapsulation standards within IETF.

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