Starting a new journey with Dell Force10

Filed in Career by on October 5, 2011 62 Comments

With mixed emotions, this week I submitted my resignation to Cisco, a fantastic company with great products and great people.  This was the result of an exhausting and drawn out thought process lasting several months.  The data center networking industry is changing fast and this was purely a forward-looking move to best position myself and family for these changes.  Again, this was purely a business calculation.  My thinking was not clouded by any spite or hard feelings.

I am extremely excited to be joining the team at Dell Force10.  As word began to leak about my departure to Dell, I received a lot of mixed reactions (which I totally expected).  Those that have a broad view of the industry and really understand the how the data center is evolving totally “got it” and congratulated me right away on making a smart move.  Others who have been busy mastering their specific niche didn’t quite understand.  And that’s OK.  That tells me I’ve got a head start.

One particular piece of feedback I really enjoyed receiving today was from someone in the industry who I really admire, and a thought leader in Silicon Valley, who wrote this:

First, *excellent* move.  I’m very bullish on Dell these days.  Geng Lin has the right vision towards commoditizing the fabric and working with edge virtualization solutions …  Also, they are extremely well positioned … I think Dell can win, I really do..

… we would have loved to have spoken with you.  But honestly, Dell is probably a better fit.  It will allow you to continue to engage the online discourse on the datacenter, and to steer a behemoth in the right direction.  The next two years are going to see a huge shift in the market, and chances are you are riding the lead whale.

congrats again on a great move.  Well done.

Naturally, I couldn’t agree more!  Dell’s acquisition of Force10 was brilliant and presented the right opportunity at the right time.  I’m excited to go back to the basics and join the front lines as an Enterprise Sales Engineer, working directly with customers.  After I learn what works, what doesn’t, where we win, where we don’t win, etc. maybe then I’ll consider a corporate role.  But for now I have many whiteboards and customer handshakes in my future.  That’s where all the fun is at anyway.  And of course the blogging will never stop!

This is going to be fun.



About the Author ()

Brad Hedlund is an Engineering Architect with VMware’s Networking and Security Business Unit (NSBU), focused on network & security virtualization (NSX) and the software-defined data center. Brad’s background in data center networking begins in the mid-1990s with a variety of experience in roles such as IT customer, systems integrator, architecture and technical strategy roles at Cisco and Dell, and speaker at industry conferences. CCIE Emeritus #5530.

Comments (62)

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  1. Welcome to Dell! It is a great place to work. I did the move 18 month ago working for one of the big pure play storage companies before – and I never regreted it.

  2. Duncan says:

    Congrats on the move and I hope you will be successful and enjoy it!

  3. Hey Brad,

    Huge loss for Cisco, massive gain for Dell. Congratulations on the new position. Agree with the person whose feedback you posted that Dell is doing great things in data center and no doubt you will be a tremendous asset to them.


  4. Scott Lowe says:

    Best of luck in your new role, Brad! I know that you will be missed at Cisco, but I also know that you will have the ability to share new information from a new perspective at Dell Force10. Congratulations!

  5. Dustin Cardoza says:

    Welcome to Dell Brad. Very glad to have you aboard and I look forward to working with you!! If you are at tech summit next week, I’ll see you there!

    Dustin Cardoza
    Network Product Technologist at Dell

  6. Congratulations! Dell/F10 has a lot going on right now and an impressive vision. Looking forward to hearing more.

  7. Brian Sytsma says:

    Congrats Brad! You’ll be missed as THE Cisco resource. Best of luck.

  8. Josh Gant says:

    Congrats! Sounds like a good oppurtunity that you will enjoy.

  9. Marcus Dandrea says:

    Good luck Brad as im sure you will be a difference maker at dell.

  10. Ethan Banks says:

    I’ll be looking forward your blog posts. I’ve been curious to see just how Dell is planning to integrate Force10 and what new product offerings are afoot. Good luck and congratulations.

  11. Michael Olsen says:

    You will be missed at Cisco, Brad. Best of luck in your new adventure! Just don’t start charging for access to this blog, OK?

  12. Congratulations on your move! Wishing you the best as things move forward.

  13. Great news Brad. At first I was a little surprised, but upon thinking about Dell’s positioning as well as their interest in some of the Open Source “cloud” solutions coming, and of course the F10 acquisition, this made total sense.

    I look forward to reading some posts in the coming months about Dell’s strengths and there vision going forward.

    Again, congratulations mate :)


  14. Hey Brad! Enjoy your new gig. Sounds like a fun ride.

    BTW now I understand your latest DM 😉


  15. Congratulations !!! A very good oppurtunity that you will enjoy for sure. Keep posting please, like your DC vision.

  16. Stefan says:

    Having taken advantage of Brad’s pearls of wisdom in the world of networking and data centers, throughout many years, I can only say that his move (congrats and good luck, Brad! – lucky Dell for getting you onboard) made me open my eyes toward a solution set so far completely unknown to me. Now on to googling about Dell/Force10 :-)

  17. Michael Gray says:

    Welcome aboard Brad! You’re coming to a great company and a great place to work.

    Michael Gray
    Director, Data Center Strategists

  18. Art Fewell says:

    We are really excited to have you on board Brad! Look forward to working with you!

  19. Krunal says:

    congrts Brad….. smart move.

    Please just dnt move your old blog posts on UCS and Nexus. I read it and refer it daily ……

  20. Terry Schroeder says:

    Brad, excellent news, have always enjoyed your insight on the industry and look forward to working with you in the future.

    Terry Schroeder
    Director, Data Center Strategists (Mr. Gray is my Colleague)

  21. Brian says:

    Welcome to the team, Brad. Glad to have you onboard.

  22. Sue Fogarty says:

    Brad, congratulations!

    I am a long-time fan and reader, and I left my job in publishing at TechTarget (where I covered mostly Cisco) about 6 weeks ago to go work for Dell. I am glad to have one of my “networking buddies” on board :). I will be looking you up!

  23. Joe Barzycki says:

    Brad, welcome and look forward to working with you :)

  24. Chris Thomas says:

    Welcome Brad! Your move to Dell Force10 is for me yet another validation of our Networking domain strategy at Dell. I agree, we can win!

  25. Kevin Burgess says:

    Welcome to the team! I think your announcement has caused an amazing and rightful amount of buzz within Dell and the industry as a whole.
    Look forward to working with you.

    Kevin Burgess
    Networking Product Technologist at Dell

  26. Brad Hedlund says:

    The enthusiastic and overwhelming response has been fantastic to see. It really shows that the energy is there and that Dell is a great place to be. Looking forward to meeting everybody!


  27. John Molchin says:

    Congrats Brad! Enjoy!

  28. Geng Lin says:

    Welcome Brad! You will find Dell is in a unique position to redefine data center networking and beyond. Looking forward to working with you!

  29. Congrats and the best of luck. Despite I’m an HP guy, I’ll personally miss your great Cisco blog posts, learn a lot about UCS and Cisco vision of the Data Center with them but I’m eager to read your future posts about Dell Force-10.

    Again, Congratulations Brad! :-)

  30. Kong Yang says:


    Welcome to Dell! I look forward to working with you. Please feel free to visit the Dell TechCenter Lab anytime you are on the Dell Round Rock campus. Send me an email for details.

    Kong Yang

  31. Chad Sakac says:

    Congrats Brad – and best of luck in your new gig!

  32. Craig Chapman says:


    Congrats. I agree with you very much on the whole “it is purely a business decision.”. So many people forget that and take it personal. Go get ’em.

    Have Fun.

  33. Andre Scalco says:

    Please don’t delete the UCS Videos you did! I still use those :)

    Congrats on the move, I am sure it was a hard decision as Cisco is a great company with a great product. Having said that I understand that from holistic point of view either Dell, IBM and more or less even HP (when they figure it out what they want to be) have a better story to tell around Data Centers.

    I am sure if Cisco had made bolder moves and truly embraced all the elements at the data center you would probably have stayed with the company. Just my two cents…

    Good Luck there mate.

  34. eric says:

    Welcome aboard, Brad! Looking forward to working with you!


  35. Angelo Rodriguez says:

    Brad, Welcome to the Dell networking team! We’re very excited to have you join. It’s a great time at Dell.


    Angelo J. Rodriguez
    Sales Engineering Director
    Dell | Networking

  36. Good luck in your new role Brad. You will be missed.

  37. @VMmark says:

    As a person with a dog in the hunt with both Cisco and Dell, this move is like even money for me, so I’ll just say congratulations!

  38. Chao Zhuo says:

    Good move.

    – follower of your blog and colleague in Cisco.

  39. Way to embrace change, which is the only constant in our industry. Kudos on the new role!

  40. Petr Lapukhov says:

    Nice, It would have to be either Arista or Dell 😉 Congratulations!

  41. Nico Wang says:

    Welcome to join! hope get your voice from team inside:)

  42. Ravi says:

    Ohh dear,
    This will surprise ppl who flow cisco like me.There are very less guys like you on this planet who shares “technology” and write blogs with open mind and take the points that needs to be taken.

    Back foot for cisco there is no doubt in that.i follower of cisco will always hope that company comes with great innovation in respective technology and i personally want to you to wish you have a great years coming.
    Loved the UCS and NXOS blogs that you posted, please do not remove it.
    once again have a wonderful coming years.


  43. Lloyd Andrew says:


    No surprise this is one of your most commented posts. Great working with you over the years as a partner and the few times I ran into you at Cisco. Best of luck to you man!


  44. Morgan says:

    Best of luck Brad. Morgan

  45. Jared Scott says:

    Welcome to the team! Joe Barzycki and I work in the Dell Solution Centers (Joe is in Chicago and I’m in D.C.). Drop in sometime and we’ll show you around and introduce you to some of your colleagues.

    -Jared Scott

  46. Welcome to the Dell team, Brad! I’m sure you’ll be a valueable resource. Once you get settled, look me up in the directory and we’ll chat.


  47. Vibeesh says:

    Best Wishes for your new venture :-)

  48. best of luck! i hope you continue to blog, it has been enjoyable!

  49. eric says:

    In coming from Dell to Cisco I think you will find a big change. Dell is not quite what people think and I do think they will be a legitimate contender in the data center. However, I think you will find their fabric and switch story much harder than you anticipated. I should know. I was there. They do have a vision and they have the right ideas. Executing and integrating that is a whole different animal. I think between all of the OEM’s out there Dell would be the only one I would look at. however, the Cisco story and Vision is so much stronger and it is actually baked. Not just slide ware. They certainly need people like you and you will do well. But in a year you will understand what I am writing in this post. It is hard to turn a ship that is a commodity player and not an innovator. Every significant play has been through acquisition and not through innovation. Tying all of the acquisitions into a cohesive story and offering is much easier said than done.

  50. Ron Hehemann says:

    Hi Brad, indeed as mentioned earlier THE source left the building. congrats with the new job
    best regards

  51. Vikas says:

    Congrats Brad , Wish you all the best ..

  52. Raghu says:

    Hi Brad,

    Firstly congrats to you and all the best for your new carrer at Dell.

    Though we have never interacted, I keep reading your blog regularly. I will be missing all the tech updates on Cisco from you. Your Indepth knowledge on product has really inspired many of us. Thanks.

    Best wishes,

  53. Sean says:

    Are you joking? I guess everyone has a number.

  54. Cheolsoo says:

    Hi Brad,

    This is Cheolsoo from Korea. I’d worked for Cisco as UCS system engineer til last month. And I’ve learned lots of Data Center technology through your weblog. Cisco lost a great people. I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best. Thank you so much Brand!

  55. JW says:

    When the winds shift there are captains that adjust & there are those that don’t… Can you feel the breeze? Brad can…

    If i was a betting man, which i am, i would bet the house that Dell is going to lap a few folks in the next decade. I haven’t found a single OEM that knows how to embrace the cloud like Dell & it’s always b/c they’re concened with their profits not mine. Just ask the next sales guy his company’s strategy & most will tell you how they’re going to increase profits… My Dell guy told me told me how he could increase mine…

    Think about it

  56. VIA says:

    Hi Brad,

    I have got a lot of informations that’s not in the manual about UCS from you. Thank you so much Brad
    Hope you got the best..

  57. John Kissane says:


  58. Jim Pickle says:

    We welcome you to the Dell team! We, too, know that this behemoth is headed in the right direction. It’s not what most people see on the outside, it’s what we’re seeing on the inside.

    Best of luck on your new endeavor! We here with the Enterprise SAN solutions team are excited about the opportunities in vitrual networking that Dell|Force10 brings!

  59. Eric Chou says:

    Congrates Brad! It was nice meeting you at Dell today.

  60. Ismail El-Shalh says:

    Congratulation Brad,

    Looking forward to see the DELL UCS soon :)


  61. Gary says:


    Just Like you ive made the same move and look forward to the DEll Force10 future! Keep up the great blogs and tech knowledge on this changing world of Data Centers.


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