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Cisco Invicta Sales Chief Exits Amid Shipment Delays

Ryan Snell, a top sales executive for Cisco's Invicta solid state storage unit, has confirmed to CRN that he is leaving the company.

Ryan Snell, a top sales executive for Cisco's Invicta solid state storage unit, is leaving the company, Snell confirmed to CRN late Monday.

Snell's departure comes as Cisco continues to grapple with performance issues related to the scale-out version of its UCS Invicta flash storage product.

Snell declined to give details on his next move in a message to CRN. He joined Cisco through its $415 million acquisition of storage vendor Whiptail in September 2013.

While at Cisco, Snell was the regional manager for the Americas division of Cisco's Solid State Systems group. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was responsible for building and scaling a "specialized sales force" to drive sales of Cisco's Invicta flash storage product, which is based on the Whiptail technology.

Snell also served as Cisco's main subject matter expert on Whiptail and solid state systems.

Snell on Tuesday made his move public on Twitter:

Well said. Best wishes to Cisco and Whiptail for continued success with Invicta. Was an awesome ride!
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Cisco in September stopped shipping its UCS Invicta flash storage product -- which is offered as either a stand-alone appliance or a version that's designed to scale -- after some customers experienced problems with deployments. Cisco said it would resume shipments of Invicta in October.

While the stand-alone version has started shipping again, the scale-out version, called the UCS Invicta Scaling System, is now being shelved until sometime in Cisco's second quarter, which started this month and ends in January.

It's not clear whether Snell's departure is at all related to the Invicta Scaling System delays.

Cisco, for its part, declined CRN's request for comment, citing company policy of not publicly addressing "individual personnel matters."

One Cisco partner, who asked not to be named, said he wasn't surprised to see Snell leave Cisco. He said, as is the case with many executives who join a company through acquisition, Snell was only brought on short term to educate Cisco's data center team on the Whiptail technology.

"It was the plan all along," the partner said. "They wanted [Snell's] intel to get the ball rolling and then they hired their own data center folks and out he went."

Another Cisco partner, who also requested anonymity, said he's interested to see Snell's next move.

"If he got recruited away with an offer he couldn't refuse, that is one thing," the partner said. "If he left for most any other reason, well, that is something totally different and would not make my opinion positive."

Snell was the third employee at Whiptail when the company was founded in 2009, according to his profile on LinkedIn.


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