VMware taps its R&D chief for vacant CTO role

Fathi joined VMware in 2012 from Cisco, where he led the operating systems and networking protocols teams

VMware has named Ben Fathi as its CTO, filling a prominent executive position that has been vacant for more than a year.

Fathi joined VMware in 2012 from Cisco, where he led the operating systems and networking protocols teams. At VMware, Fathi most recently served as senior vice president, R&D. "Fathi brings experience managing large global teams and delivering innovation, with a focus on customer needs and product quality," a press release announcing the appointment reads. Fathi will report directly to Pat Gelsinger, VMware's CEO, who is the former CTO of Intel and former COO of EMC.

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Fathi takes the reigns of VMware's broad technology portfolio as the company embarks on strategic new initiatives. Late last year VMware launched its vCloud Hybrid Service, which is meant to be the company's major play in the public IaaS cloud computing market. The service goes hand-in-hand with the company's broad set of virtualization software and private cloud management platforms, such as vSphere and vCloud Automation Center (vCAC).

VMware has recently been building up its end-user computing division as well. During the past half-year the company has added multiple executives to that division, including tapping former SAP veteran and mobile guru Sanjay Poonen as its head in August 2013. This week it brought on Citrix executives Bob Schultz and Sumit Dhawan, CITEworld reports. VMware also announced that Kit Colbert, a long-time VMware manager, will be CTO of that division.

VMware's acquisition of Nicira in 2012 shook up the networking market and established VMware as one of the most prominent players in software-defined networking (SDN) with its NSX software. All these moves are meant to diversify the company away from the compute virtualization software that made it what it is today. VMware's marketing strategy since these moves has been pitching the software-defined data center, with its virtualization software encompassing compute, networking and mobile devices. Fathi will now oversee the technical operations of all these projects.

VMware's CTO position has been vacant since January 2013 when Steve Herrod left to pursue a venture capital career. Herrod's departure capped off a high-level executive shakeup at VMware including the departure of CEO Paul Maritz, who stepped down to lead Pivotal, a new initiative that includes the application development and big data technologies from VMware and parent company EMC. VMware announced that Gelsinger would replace Maritz in the summer of 2012.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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