Feeds

Ex-Sun mafioso sleeps with the VCs: Netflix guru quits to help fund startups

Got cloud? He's got a briefcase full of valley lucre and wants to know

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Top cloud industry veteran Adrian Cockcroft has left Netflix for venture-capital firm Battery Ventures: he'll now help investors spot companies worthy of a slurp from Battery's $900m trough of valley lucre.

Cockcroft announced his move on Tuesday, and we're sure that CEOs and CTOs at cloud-oriented startups around the valley perked up at the thought that one of their own is now dishing out cash.

Netflix was "the best job I ever had – best people, best technology, best business model," Cockcroft told El Reg in a phone call today.

"What I'm doing now is broader. It basically takes things I was doing as a sideline at Netflix and turns them into my main job at Battery. I was going to conferences and talking to startups while at Netflix, but it doesn't deliver movies, it helped Netflix recruit people, and at Battery it becomes my day job."

Cockcroft is a former member of the "Sun Mafia" – his playful name for a close-knit group of Sun Microsystems people, many of them Distinguished Engineers, who back in the day helped develop the technologies that made Sun one of the most innovative and tragic companies of the previous valley bubble.

Oracle bought Sun's carcass in 2009, though the "Sun Mafia" began its exodus much before that, going on to hold positions at companies such as Vyatta, Facebook, Google, Netflix, VMware, and Joyent. Since then, many of Sun's old ideas – Solaris Zones, grid computing, and so on – have all come back into vogue.

"For a long time Sun was hoovering up the best people in the world, and it was the most interesting high-tech place to go," Cockcroft said. "There's definitely a sense that we all get together."

Now, ex-mafioso Cockcroft will help advise Battery Ventures on how to spend its $900m fortune after the fund created a "technology fellow" role for him.

"I will work in the Battery Ventures team that is looking for opportunities to fund companies who are enabling the transformation of enterprise IT, and I will also provide advice and mentoring for portfolio companies," he wrote in a post to his (rather good) personal blog on Tuesday.

Cockcroft's focus now is on how large enterprises are achieving continuous delivery and using technologies such as cloud computing to speed up their operations, he told El Reg. Therefore, he's on the hunt for startups that can help transform big lumbering businesses into more nimble creatures.

Cockcroft left Sun for eBay in 2004, then hopped over to Netflix in 2007 where he helped design the company's at-the-time heretical cloud-first architecture.

Since then, Netflix has become one of Amazon Web Services's more prominent customers, and at peak times the service consumes about a third of downstream US network traffic.

To maintain uptime in a harsh environment built on thoroughly occluded infrastructure, Cockcroft spearheaded an effort at Netflix to develop many open-source software tools to help its service run reliably in the face of random cloud brownouts, and peaks in demand.

"It's going to take me a little while to figure out the new role, but a big part of the job is meeting lots of people. I'm taking bookings for February," he wrote. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.