Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Networking Start-Up Nicira Hires New VP of Sales From Riverbed

Nicira, the once secretive networking technology start-up that aims to mess up the business of giants like Cisco Systems, has just made another key executive hire. Denis Murphy, the senior vice president for the Americas at Riverbed Technology, has joined Nicira as VP of Sales.

Murphy has spent the last eight years at Riverbed, and before that spent about seven years at places like Mercury Interactive, EMC and BlueArc. He’s joining Nicira just as it’s getting off the ground for real. It has been hiring an impressive roster of people away from companies like Cisco and Juniper for several months.

Nicira is backed by investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners and NEA, plus personal investments from VMWare founder Diane Greene and venture capitalist Andy Rachleff. I first noticed it when it hired Alan Cohen away from Cisco as its vice president of marketing.

It aims to be the vendor of a new networking technology that’s built specifically for the age of cloud computing. While the pipes through which bits flow in and out of data centers have gotten faster, there’s a need to make them smarter and more flexible, not unlike virtual servers in that data center. Adding Nicira’s software to a server creates the ability to “spin up” virtual networks as readily as you might virtual servers in order to meet surging demand. Nicira calls it an NVP, or network virtualization platform. AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, Rackspace and the Japanese telecom giant NTT are all using Nicira, the company says.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik