Cisco replaces UCS server head; software leaders also depart

Cisco Systems has replaced its top computing executive.

Paul Perez, vice president and general manager, Computing Systems at Cisco, left the company this month for undisclosed reasons. He is being replaced by Satinder Sethi, vice president of UCS Product Management & Solutions.

A search is apparently underway for a permanent replacement.

"We expect to attract top talent for the role," a Cisco spokesperson said in an e-mailed confirmation.

"Cisco UCS is one of the company's all-time strongest success stories," the spokesperson wrote. "In just six years, UCS has reached an over $3 billion run rate with more than 41,000 customers. Eighty-five percent of the Fortune 500 (have) chosen UCS because of its innovative architecture, and last quarter saw a 40% growth year-over-year, demonstrating how Cisco's differentiated approach continues to resonate with customers."

Cisco's share of the $14.5 billion server market in the fourth quarter, 2014, grew to 5.3% from 4.5% in 2013, good for No. 5 overall, according to IDC. Full-year revenue for UCS was $2.9 billion, the firm states.

Cisco's server line had a major expansion last summer with the UCS "Mini," the M-series modular servers and a storage server for large-scale computing. Cisco said it was its "most significant technology announcement" of the year.

But the Computing Systems unit also had a major setback when Cisco had to halt shipments of its Invicta flash memory UCS servers due to scaling issues. The Invicta line was developed after Cisco's acquisition of solid-state memory company WHIPTAIL.

Perez came to Cisco in 2011 from HP, where he led storage and server business units. Perez had a 27 year career at HP.

Sources say Perez may land at Dell. Dell did not reply to an inquiry by press time.

Cisco's Computing Systems group also apparently lost Vice President Raju Datla, the head of UCS software. Datla was a founder of Cloupia, the software company Cisco acquired in 2012 that became its UCS Director management product.

Datla's LinkedIn page states he left Cisco this month for "The Unknown and The Unseen." Sources say he will start a new company with Cloupia co-founder Raju Penmetsa, currently Cisco's UCS software CTO and principal engineer.

Cisco did not confirm these departures by press time.


Jim Duffy

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