Isilon Hires Former NetApp Channel Chief


NetApp's former channel chief, Leonard Iventosch, is now heading channels at Isilon Systems.

Isilon said on Wednesday that Iventosch has joined the storage vendor as vice president of global channels and OEM to help lead the company's move to expand its channel business.

Iventosch was vice president of global channels at NetApp until late July, when he suddenly left the company.

Isilon develops clustered storage systems and software aimed at storing and protecting unstructured data and file-based data. Its architecture scales up to 20 Gbytes per second of aggregate throughput and up to 2.3 petabytes of capacity in a single storage volume.

Hiring Iventosch is a smart move for Isilon, said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based solution provider and partner to both NetApp and Isilon.

This really marks Isilon's move to the big leagues, Strasheim said.

"It's a significant opportunity for Isilon to broaden their appeal," he said. "Isilon has always been seen as a niche player in the unstructured files market. That's not a bad thing. But I can't imagine Leonard would work for a niche player."

Iventosch brings a much larger view of the market than Isilon has had in the past, Strasheim said. "It's a great engineering company, but it hasn't been able to reach out to customers as much as it could," he said. "It's an engineering-centric company. Leonard will help expand their vision. And I'm glad I'm along for the ride."

Sujal Patel, founder and CEO of Isilon, said that the company's international business, which accounts for about one-third of revenue, goes 100 percent through the channels, but that only 50 percent of its U.S. sales goes through the channel.

"But today, as we see enterprise and midsized customers' unstructured data grow, it's time for us to move to a predominately indirect model," Patel said. "We feel that leveraging the channel is the way to fuel growth."

Patel said Isilon has been talking to Iventosch for some time about handling global channels, a task now done by Steve Fitz, the company's senior vice president of worldwide field operations. Iventosch is reporting to Fitz.

Isilon currently has about 100 partners worldwide, and is in the process of recruiting those who share a common vision about how the modern data center is evolving, Patel said. It is also looking for partners who can reach out to specific geographies and to specific vertical markets it has not focused on in the past, such as life sciences, gas and oil, and the Federal government, he said.

Iventosch's former position at NetApp seems to be in the process of being filled by two people.

Julie Parrish, who until October was Symantec's vice president of global channels, is expected to be announced shortly as NetApp's new global channel chief.

Also expected to be unveiled shortly as NetApp's North American channel chief is Todd Palmer, a recent employee of CA.