Winners of the NetEvents Cloud Innovation Awards 2014: Martin Casado is Cloud Industry Idol

Winners of the NetEvents Cloud Innovation Awards 2014 were announced March 27th at the NetEvents Cloud Innovation Summit celebration dinner in Los Gatos, CA, USA. These annual Industry Innovation Awards celebrate organizations and individuals that lead the world by innovation and performance in the networking and telecommunications sector. 

The top prize was the “Cloud Industry Idol” award, won by Martin Casado, CTO Networking, VMware (and founder of Nicira, which was acquired by VMware in 2012 for $1.26 billion).  Mr Casado, PhD Stanford, is quite a humble gentleman. He is an ultra marathon runner who actively competed in multiple races per year before his arduous business air travel shut him down.  He wrote in an email to this author: “Thanks Alan, it was a pleasure to meet you. Flying 320K miles last year was brutal.  I’m on track for the same this year….”

Mr Casado maintains a personal ultra running web page at:

At the awards ceremony, NetEvents CEO Mark Fox said: “Martin’s vision and innovations have helped ignite a vibrant SDN research community with potential to bring about one of the most radical transformations the networking industry has witnessed in the past 20+ years.”   

That’s likely because Martin is credited as the inventor of OpenFlow API/protocol (between the separate Control and Data Plane equipment) while a PhD student in 2007.  “SDN and OpenFlow came out of work we were doing at Stanford,” Casado said.  The term SDN was coined in 2009, but has become quite vague now.  Neither Nicera or VMWare use OpenFlow in their implementations of Network Virtualization.  The latter is effectively an overlay networking model, rather than the pure SDN model which requires all new -SDN complaint- networking equipment.  

Other Cloud Innovation 2014 award winners were:

Cloud Security Solution – for the most innovative, practical and effective contribution to cloud security – was won by HyTrust DataControl™ encryption and key management for its ability to give the data owner control of the keys to their cloud based data encryption solution. The other finalists were Juniper Networks & Wedge Networks (joint solution submission) and F-Secure.

SDN Solution for the Enterprise – for SDN solutions that offer easy migration, that deliver early ROI, and generally encourage businesses to take the first steps to tomorrow’s networking. The result was a shared win for Nuage Networks’ Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) and HP’s Network Optimizer SDN application.

Hottest Cloud Company – this award was open to wide interpretation and was a difficult choice between AirWatch, NetSuite and one year old Nuage Networks. “NetSuite’s one integrated offering allows companies of any size to move seamlessly move through most business operations” according to the judges, who awarded it also on the strength of its easy set-up and operation.

NFV Solution for Carriers from a finalist line-up of Cyan, Gigamon and a joint submission from Juniper Networks & Wedge Networks, the judges picked out Cyan Blue Planet, notably for its support of an open cloud environment “whether Cyan hardware products are involved or not.”

Cloud/Datacenter Solution – for the most innovative Cloud/Datacenter solution, providing major business benefits – was won by Citrix’s CloudPlatform unified cloud management. The other finalists were CoreSite and RedHat

Cloud Mobility Solution – for cloud mobility solutions that offer useful and seamless service, but without compounding IT headaches. The judges decided that AirWatch’s superb security solution, and the choice of ways to implement their solutions added up to a winning formula – over fellow finalists Aerohive and AdaptiveMobile

Cloud Services for the Enterprise – won by Comcast over finalists Basho and RedHat, notably on the strength of its superb friendly service to smaller business customers, including the Cloud Desk “concierge service” for hosted applications and the simplified customer support and billing.

Summing up Mark Fox, said: “These awards offer a rare opportunity to raise a company’s profile in front of the world’s leading media gatekeepers – reaching a massive global audience of high-level decision makers. What’s more, these awards have also raised over $100K for charities to-date.”

For information about the NetEvents program of events plese visit:

NetEvents PR contact:                  
Helen Whitworth                         
NetEvents International                
[email protected]                
+44 (0) 870 760 6464 

Cloud Innovation Summit Snapshot:

A key theme of this conference was that new approaches to cloud security are urgently needed.  Martin Casado said he and VMware will be working on that.  “Security will never be the same,” he said pointing to increased threats and requirements for malware and network protection along with vulnerability assessment/management.  

Martin’s Stanford PhD Thesis (published in December 2007): ARCHITECTURAL SUPPORT FOR SECURITY MANAGEMENTIN ENTERPRISE NETWORKS presents a principled approach to network redesign that creates moresecure and manageable networks. It proposes a new network architecture in whicha global security policy defines all connectivity. The policy is declared at a logically centralized Controller and then enforced directly at each switch.

One panelist suggested that security functionality should be included in the application program and executed in the cloud.  Others advocated building security into the lowest layer and implementing it in silicon (as Intel has done after their purchase of McAfee).

We will be covering Mr Casado’s keynote presentation as it relates to Cloud Security as well as selected others in forthcoming articles.   We will also consider writing up some of the 1 on 1 industry chat sessions that took place Thursday and Friday afternoons. 

Stay tuned….