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9/23/2009
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Microsoft Data Center Exec Bolts To Cisco

Debra Chrapaty played major role in company's effort to roll out cloud-based offerings.

A key Microsoft executive has left the software maker to take a senior-level position at networking giant Cisco.

Debra Chrapaty, who ran Microsoft's data center operations, is set to assume command of Cisco's collaboration software group, according to a report on InformationWeek.com sister site ChannelWeb. The report was confirmed by Microsoft. Cisco has not commented.

As of Wednesday, Chrapaty was still listed on Microsoft's Web site as the company's VP for Global Foundation Services—a high-profile remit that carries oversight of Redmond's physical infrastructure, security, and global delivery operations.

The loss of Chrapaty, who at various stages of her career has been president of E-Trade, CTO of the National Basketball Association, and an InformationWeek Chief of The Year, could be a blow to Microsoft's campaign to build out its hosted software services to match Web-based offerings from Google and other rivals.

Microsoft is developing a version of Windows called Azure that's designed to provide a foundation for data center-based cloud computing environments. The company also plans to roll out a hosted version of Microsoft Office next year. Microsoft earlier this month opened a massive, $500 million data center in the Chicago area to support the services.

Chrapaty is no stranger to Cisco. Among other things, her team provided the router maker with input on the development of its Nexus 7000 switching platform for data centers.

One possible candidate to assume Chrapaty's responsibilities is Kevin Timmons. Redmond lured Timmons away from Yahoo earlier this year to run the Global Foundation organization's data center group.

Microsoft also poached Yahoo exec Dayne Simpson for a senior role on the Global Foundation team—a move that may have sparked the departure of Microsoft data center architect Michael Manos.

Microsoft and Yahoo struck a broad search alliance in July that will see Microsoft place its Bing search engine on Yahoo's Web properties.

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