VMware has hired long-time Cisco sales veteran Tom Koppelman as the new global network and security sales director to help grow the virtualization star’s network and security market share, led by its growing NSX portfolio.

Koppelman spent 17 years with Cisco in a variety of senior sales roles focused on key areas for Cisco including enterprise networking, security, software, collaboration, data center and “mass infrastructure,” VMware said in a statement to CRN. Most recently, Koppelman was Vice President for Americas Architecture Sales at Cisco and managed around 1,000 technical salespeople and engineers. At the same time, he helped the network giant with market transitions.

A top solution provider manager, a Cisco Gold Partner, said Koppelman’s hiring was a “smart, strategic” game by VMware to better understand Cisco’s network and security roadmap as it competed with the NSX product from VMware.

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