Pure Storage Hires First Channel Chief, New 'Partner Success' VP

Pure Storage's Michael Sotnick, left, and Alex Hesterberg

All-flash storage array vendor Pure Storage Thursday expanded its channel team with the appointment of the company's first-ever channel chief.

The company also introduced its new customer and partner success program targeted at working with third-party partners to expand solutions based around Pure Storage technology.

Michael Sotnick, Pure Storage's new vice president of global channels and alliances, told CRN he joined the Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor March 23 after a stint as executive vice president and channel chief at San Francisco-based mobile platform developer Moovweb.

[Related: NetApp's Flash Storage Guru Has Moved To Pure Storage, Stoking Fears About FlashRay]

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Before Moovweb, Sotnick was channel chief at Quest Software before and after it was acquired by Dell. He also spent more than 10 years in the channel at Veritas Software before and after it was acquired by Symantec.

The appointment of a channel chief is the next stage in the evolution of Pure Storage as an enterprise storage vendor, Sotnick said.

"Look at what our company has done," he said. "It's a disruptive company in a disruptive landscape. There's a lot of disruptive technology in tier-one storage. ... Add in our 100 percent commitment to the channel. The company's leadership has made it clear we need global consistency in the channel."

Also new at Pure Storage is Alex Hesterberg, a former Riverbed and Symantec executive who now serves as the company's vice president of customer and partner success and technology services.

Hesterberg told CRN that his role is also a first for Pure Storage, which is looking to combine a variety of channel and technology resources into a single organization.

"Currently, we have field sales engineers leveraging solution architects from different parts of the company who aren't necessarily in the field," he said. "We are also looking at how we interact with technology from third-party partners so we can show our channel partners how to integrate it."

The two appointments are clear signs that Pure Storage's channel organization is maturing, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and Pure Storage channel partner.

"Pure has had resources on the street," Woodall told CRN. "But if you want to build a larger channel organization, make more resources available, and get ready for an IPO like Pure Storage is rumored to be doing, you need a solid team to support it."

Pure Storage declined to comment on whether the company is preparing for an IPO.

With their Symantec, Quest and Riverbed backgrounds, Sotnick and Hesterberg bring a lot of good channel experience to Pure Storage, Woodall said.

"Those companies' partner programs seemed to set good marks," Woodall said. "They have a good pedigree. My observation so far is that Pure Storage tends to hire seasoned, experienced people. I have only positive expectations as a channel partner that the new executives will be good for us."

Sotnick said Pure Storage this year will be looking for continued evolution of its channel. For instance, he said, the company will expand relationships with the global systems integrator community to develop new solutions and expand technology alliances with companies such as Cisco, SAP, Citrix, Epic, Microsoft, Oracle, Red Hat and VMware, he said.