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Key Sun exec leaves for start-up

John MacFarlane, a top executive in charge of one of the company's most important business segments, becomes chief executive of a start-up called Nexsi doing similar work.

John MacFarlane, a top executive in charge of one of Sun Microsystems' most important business segments, has become chief executive of a start-up called Nexsi doing similar work.

MacFarlane led Sun's business selling products to "service providers"--outfits such as Exodus or Loudcloud that would set up Web sites, data storage facilities and other Internet operations they would run for other companies. Sun believes service providers will be increasingly important as more and more companies outsource computer operations such as e-mail to outside specialists.

Nexsi, a 170-person company founded in 1999, provides high-speed networking equipment designed to improve service providers' computing operations.

At Sun, MacFarlane was instrumental in introducing products such as the Netra series of servers designed for telecommunications companies and service providers who need to stack up hundreds of computers. MacFarlane spent 17 years at Nortel Networks before joining Sun.