James Walker
James Walker
President, OpenCloud Connect
VP Managed Network Services, Tata Communications

“Four years ago we migrated our Ethernet over SDH services to native Ethernet over PBB and it is proving highly popular with our data centre customers. They love Ethernet’s simplicity and scalability and want more. However, as data centre networks become larger and more sophisticated, they are coming up against challenges, and the OpenCloud Connect is committed to resolving those issues.”

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As Vice President, Managed Networks Services for Tata Communications, James Walker is responsible for leading the company’s VPN line of business – covering enterprise and wholesale Ethernet, MPLS, managed IPSec and data centre interconnect services.

Following the company’s migration from Ethernet over SDH to native Ethernet over PBB, James became increasingly aware of the gap between data centre clients’ love of Ethernet’s simplicity and scalability, and the growing challenges to Ethernet on the cloud scale. Discussion of these issues with industry leaders led James to launch OpenCloud Connect (OCC) in May 2013.

James brings to OpenCloud Connect over two decades’ experience in the telecommunications and IP space. He currently leads the strategy, management and development of the Tata VPN portfolio which covers more than 3,000 Ethernet access nodes in over 60 countries, direct MPLS services to 100 countries and managed extended access and network integration offerings in more than 190 countries.

James’s previous experience includes Head of Access and Professional Services at BT Wholesale, where he was responsible for access cost reductions for data products, the development of the 21CN Ethernet and MSIL products, and the promotion of BT Professional Services to wholesale customers. Earlier positions include: seven years at Cable & Wireless in various positions, finally managing the wholesale data portfolio globally; and senior positions with Telstra, Sun Microsystems Professional Services, and several internet startup companies in North America and Australia.

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Jeffrey Schmitz
Jeffrey Schmitz
Chairman, OpenCloud Connect
Executive Vice President, Spirent Communications

“Cloud networking to cloud computing, virtual machines to virtual networks, NFV to SDN all mean assessing the design and deployment of these new environments. OpenCloud Connect is a confluence of interests that recognizes the need to create solutions and frameworks that drive the move from Ethernet based Cloud Networking to resilient, secure and profitable Cloud Computing. A founding member of the CEF, Spirent recognized early the need for high performing, available, scalable and secure cloud and virtual networks.”

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As Executive Vice President, Jeff is responsible for global marketing efforts across Spirent. In this capacity, he leads the Product Management, Product Marketing, and Corporate Communications organizations throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Prior to joining Spirent, Jeff spent two years as Senior Vice President at Rivulet Communications, a venture-backed medical device start-up company. Jeff’s management experience began at Tellabs, where, during his 15-year tenure, he held a number of management-level positions in engineering, product line management and marketing, ultimately serving as Tellabs’ senior vice president of global marketing.

Jeff earned a master’s degree in computer science from Illinois Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University.

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Mehmet Toy
Mehmet Toy
Board Member, OpenCloud Connect
Distinguished Engineer, Comcast

Dr. Toy is a Distinguished Engineer at Comcast, editor of CEF Reference Architecture and leading the architectural definitions, co-chair of CEF Programmability, and chair of IEEE Cable Networks and Services Committee.

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Mehmet has been instrumental in development of Comcast Business Ethernet Services, which received multiple MEF awards in 2013, and ENNI Gateways among MSOs. Currently he is leading the development of Business Ethernet Services over DOCSIS over EPON, and involved in virtualization and SDN projects of MSOs-Cable Labs-vendors.

He received his Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering from SIT, Hoboken, NJ. Prior to his current position, he held executive, managerial and technical positions at various companies including AT&T Bell-Labs; and served at universities. He contributed to research, development and standardizations of Metro Ethernet, IP Multimedia Systems, Optical, Wireless and ATM technologies. He published numerous articles, four books and a video tutorial in these areas. His fifth book is to be published by Wiley-IEEE this year.

Dr. Toy received various awards including Comcast Inventor Awards and AT&T Bell-Labs Exceptional Contribution Awards. He has three US Patents pending.

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Vinay Saxena
Vinay Saxena
Board Member, OpenCloud Connect
Chief Architect, NFV Business, HP

In the era of cloud and mobility, communications service providers are transforming their networks to achieve greater scalability and agility. HP has a strong track record of driving industry standards so that we can deliver the open, standards-based solutions that our customers require. We look forward to extending our commitment to standards as part of the OpenCloud Connect initiative to drive compelling cloud services for carriers, enterprises and communication service providers.

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Vinay Saxena is a Distinguished Technologist at HP, and acts as the Chief Architect for HP’s NFV business. In this role, Vinay is responsible for defining the overall NFV technology architecture, strategy and future vision including the evolution of the solution plan of record.

A seasoned technology and business executive, Vinay has spent 18 years creating and delivering innovative technology solutions for the worldwide markets of Hewlett-Packard. Vinay has spent the last 5 years incubating NFV and SDN technology solutions inside HP driving various PoC’s and customer sales engagements.

Vinay has proven leadership and experience in delivering large complex solutions, products and projects to the communications industry. His extensive experience in setting strategy for new products, developing end-to-end solutions and taking them to market includes significant experience with Cloud and Virtualization technologies.

Vinay joined Hewlett-Packard in 1996 from Lamar University where he was Network & MIS Manager. Vinay completed his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Lamar University in 1992.

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Hongwen Zhang
Hongwen Zhang
Board Member & Chair - Security Working Group, OpenCloud Connect
President & CEO, Wedge Networks

Cloud is not only a very fertile and safe business environment, but also where future security will be effectively managed.

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Dr. Zhang is President and CEO of Wedge Networks which he co-founded in 2005, and co-chair of OpenCloud Connect’s Security Working Group. Dr. Zhang was instrumental in developing the high performance architecture that provides the basis behind Wedge’s award-winning security appliance, the BeSecure Web Gateway. Wedge security technology today protects 12 million global internet users.

Wedge Networks has been chosen by OpenCloud Connect (OCC) to help lead its Cloud Security initiative and Dr. Hongwen Zhang was appointed co-chair of the CEF’s Security Working Group in November 2013.

Dr Zhang holds a Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Calgary; a M.Sc in Computer Engineering from the Institute of Computer Technology – Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, PRC), and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Fudan University (Shanghai, PRC).

With more than two decades of high tech leadership experience, Dr. Zhang is a co-inventor and holder of several patents in the area of computing and networking. Prior to establishing Wedge Networks, he was a co-founder of the 24C Group Inc., which pioneered the first digital receipts infrastructure for secure electronic commerce. Dr. Zhang was previously principal of Servidium Inc., now ThoughtWorks Canada Inc., a global leader in agile development methodology.

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Plamen Minev
Plamen Minev
Board Member
Director of Engineering, Chief Technology and Architecture Office, Cisco Systems

“Plamen Minev is a Director of Engineering at Cisco Chief Technology and Architecture Office (CTAO). He leads a team focused on next generation network and systems management architectures for cloud and communications service providers and large enterprises. He is responsible for multiple platform, technology and architectural projects defining advanced capabilities supporting a range of different customer segment requirements and use-case based solutions.”

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Plamen is passionate in his support of open standards and how standards bodies are able to shape and advance the development and adoption of technology and has been a consistent contributor to various standards organization efforts. Plamen has over 20 years of experience architecting and building large scale software solutions. In the past he has held engineering, management and executive positions at Nortel Networks, Sun Microsystems and multiple startups. His current interest and focus is the simplification of the transition to virtualized and programmable network infrastructure through automation. Plamen holds a Master of Computer Science degree form Sofia Technical University.

Dawane Young
Dawane Young
Board Member
Division Vice President of Platforms and Applications for Verizon’s Partner Solutions

Dawane is the Division Vice President of Platforms and Applications for Verizon’s Partner Solutions organization. He is a 20 year Telecommunications veteran having held business development, marketing, operations and sales management roles.

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In Dawane’s current role his team engages in Security, Data Center Collocation, Professional Services, Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud sales opportunities with partners and resellers globally. Dawane’s team helps to identify emerging sales strategies, technology shifts and also develops new models to address the rapidly growing ‘as a service’ market.

Dawane holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communications from James Madison University.

Doug Wills
Doug Wills
Board Member
Vice President of Marketing for Akanda, Inc

Doug Wills is Vice President of Marketing for Akanda, Inc, an OpenStack network virtualization start-up that delivers routing-as-a-service inside VMs and Linux containers.

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Akanda’s founders have a long history in open source software. They have sold two IaaS start-ups to VMware and one OpenStack storage start-up to RedHat.
Wills has 20 years software and network infrastructure experience, working for Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper and Microsoft. At Juniper, Wills was responsible for its network operating system and several software defined networking programs. He integrated 3rd party analytics (Gigamon) , automation (Ansible, Chef, Puppet), and virtualization (AWS, MSFT and VMWR) technologies into Junos. Wills was also Juniper’s lead representative at the Open Networking Foundation, OpenStack, MEF and CloudEthernet Forum.