XIO Executive Shakeup Ushers In New Chairman, CEO, Sales VPs

John Beletic, the new president and CEO of XIO, which until this year was better known as Xiotech, joins the company after about 10 years with investment company Oak Investment Partners, where he served as venture partner and board member of several firms.

Alan Atkinson, who until this week served as president and CEO, was appointed chairman of the board for the storage company.

Atkinson, who joined XIO in October of 2009, said that unlike him, Beletic is based in Colorado, which will enable him to focus on managing XIO. "It makes sense to bring in someone who is more focused on operations and who is local," he said. "I spent a lot of time on the road. Now I'm chairman, but will still focus on XIO.

In addition to its new president and CEO, XIO also appointed two new sales executives. They include Shawn Kinnear, a six-year XIO veteran, who is now vice president of sales for the western U.S., and Dave Ornstein, a three-year XIO veteran, who is now vice president of sales for the eastern U.S.

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Atkinson said the change at the top is the culmination of a long transition period for the company which not only changed its name but also moved its headquarters across the country and changed its product focus.

"We've been in transition for the last 25 months," he said. "It's what I was brought in to do."

XIO in January moved its corporate headquarters to Colorado Springs, Colo. from Eden Prairie, Minn. That moved in-turn stemmed from the company's decision to step away from future development of its high-performance traditional storage controller technology and instead concentrate on its Intelligent Storage Elements (ISE) technology.

The ISE is a self-contained, sealed storage module complete with hard drives; redundant storage controllers with local RAID, cache, and drive management software; redundant power and cooling; and battery backup.

XIO in January unveiled a hybrid version of the ISE which adds SSD technology and the ability to automatically tier between SSDs and hard drives.

XIO going forward will focus on ISE development because of the growing importance of SSDs and growing customer requirements for high-performance storage, Atkinson said.

"The move to solid storage is the most exciting change since the move to networked storage in the 1990s," he said. "So now we're not competing with companies like EMC and NetApp. Instead, we're competing with high-performance storage vendors like Fusion-io and Violin Memory."

XIO will continue to support its existing controller-based storage lines, but not do a lot of marketing on it, Atkinson said. "We have strategic alliances in this space," he said. "We are not abandoning the market, but will no longer develop our own intellectual property for traditional storage controllers. Instead, we will work with third-party partners."

That shift in focus is good news for XIO's channel partners, Atkinson said. "This mean we can leverage the channel more," he said. "Our old focus on controllers made us competitive with the biggest storage vendors, and a lot of channel partners didn't want to work with us and compete with those vendors."

The move to Colorado Springs came as a result of XIO's November, 2007 acquisition of Seagate Technology's Advanced Storage Architecture (ASA) group, which developed the original ISE technology while headquartered in that city.

XIO currently has about 180 employees, down from its peak of 230 employees, Atkinson said.