VMware security chief leaves to run OpenDNS

Nand Mulchandani joins OpenDNS, a startup that provides Internet infrastructure services.

The head of VMware's security group has left to join San Francisco's OpenDNS, a startup that provides Internet infrastructure services.

Nand Mulchandani took over as CEO of the DNS (domain name system) service provider on Nov. 5, replacing founder David Ulevitch, who will remain as the company's chief technology officer, according to a company spokeswoman.

Mulchandani is the latest VMware executive to depart after company cofounder and CEO Diane Green was ousted in July of this year. In September another VMware cofounder, Chief Scientist Mendel Rosenblum, resigned. Richard Sarwal, who led the company's research and development efforts, also left around the same time.

Mulchandani said Green's departure had nothing to do with his decision to take the OpenDNS post. "This was just an incredible opportunity," he said in an interview Thursday. "Too good to pass by."

Mulchandani had been with VMware just over a year, after the virtualization software vendor acquired his security company, Determina. As VMware's senior director for security products, Mulchandani was in charge of VMware's security strategy, considered critical to the company's future success. VMware is publicly traded, but the majority of the company is owned by storage vendor EMC.

As CEO at OpenDNS, Mulchandani plans to expand the company's consumer business, but also to take OpenDNS into the enterprise.

OpenDNS' services could be used to help out branch offices or remote workers, or to serve as backup DNS systems for enterprise customers, he said. "We don't believe our job is going to be to replace enterprise DNS," he said, "but we believe there's an opportunity to compliment these on-premise or in-cloud services."

OpenDNS makes its DNS servers freely available to other computers on the Internet, giving them a way to convert domain names such as amazon.com into the numerical Internet Protocol addresses computers use to find each other on the Internet.

Although Internet service providers typically provide DNS services to their customers, OpenDNS has attracted users by promising faster lookups and by adding new features to the service that let users block dangerous or inappropriate servers from reaching their networks.

The company makes its money by providing search-based ads to users of its service, and is now handling between 8 billion and 9 billion DNS lookups per day.

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