VMware taps Ayyar to lead company’s service provider SDN, NFV efforts

Shekar Ayyar will be the new EVP and general manager of VMWare's telco group. Image: VMWare

VMware has promoted Shekar Ayyar to be EVP and general manager of the company’s telco group, reflecting its move to expand its focus on pursuing service provider deals.

In his new position, Ayyar will drive VMware's effort to accelerate the telecom industry’s software-driven evolution through its Cross-Cloud Architecture, and software-defined infrastructure for NFV.

Ayyar will report to CEO Pat Gelsinger, and will also continue to lead VMware's strategy and corporate business development activities.

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He comes to the new position with over 15 years of senior leadership experience in enterprise software, communications and semiconductors. As the leader of VMware's Strategy and Corporate Development function, Ayyar is focused on aligning strategy across VMware businesses as well as managing the company's mergers and acquisitions, along with strategic investments.

One of the particular skills Ayyar has gained during his tenure is helping the company pursue various acquisitions, including Nicira and AirWatch, to establish VMware as an NFV infrastructure provider.

Before coming to VMware, Ayyar held senior roles at Lucent Technologies (now Nokia), BindView (acquired by Symantec) and Instantis (acquired by Oracle), holding roles in product management, marketing and business development. He was also a consultant with McKinsey & Co.

What’s driving VMware to focus more of its attention on the service provider virtualization opportunity is the sheer potential market opportunity.

Observers estimate that around 400 communications service providers and telcos globally are virtualizing their network as a way to accelerate service activation at a lower cost.

VMware allows service providers and enterprises to deploy a multi-vendor and multi-function NFV platform. Based on VMware's Cross-Cloud Architecture, the company's platform is OpenStack compatible and supports diverse network functions and applications.

The company said it currently has more than 80 NFV production deployments with major global service providers across all geographies, which are deployed directly as well as through Network Equipment Provider (NEP) partners and Virtual Network Function (VNF) vendors.

To date, VMware has certified 24 virtual network functions from 20 vendors as VMware Ready for NFV, with a strong pipeline of additional virtual network functions (VNFs) awaiting certification.