IBM Rehires Catalogic's Ed Walsh To Manage Its Storage Business, Catalogic Gets New CEO

IBM on Thursday said it has a new general manager for its storage business after it rehired Ed Walsh, an executive who has served as CEO of four storage companies and who previously managed IBM's storage business.

Walsh was most recently CEO of Catalogic Software, a Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based developer of data protection and copy data management software.

Meanwhile, Catalogic Software on Thursday said it has appointed Ken Barth as its new president and CEO effective Friday. Barth has served on Catalogic's board of directors since the company was founded in October 2013.

[Related: IDC: All-Flash Storage Array Sales Soar In First Quarter, Enterprise Storage Sales Stumble Badly]

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Walsh will officially start his new role at IBM on July 11. He will take over for Greg Lotko, who has been serving as the interim general manager of IBM storage. Lotko will continue his role as vice president of development for IBM Storage.

No IBM storage executives were available Thursday to comment on the hiring of Walsh.

Walsh brings a long history in the storage industry back to IBM. In addition to Catalogic Software, he served as CEO of Storwize, which was acquired by IBM in 2010. Until 2013, he stayed at IBM. where he led marketing and strategy for IBM storage.

Walsh also served as CEO of Virtual Iron, which was acquired by Oracle in 2009, and Avamar, which EMC acquired in 2006.

Walsh returns to IBM storage at a tough time for the vendor. IBM was the sixth-largest seller of enterprise storage systems in the first quarter of 2016, with sales of $476 million, down 11.4 percent from the same period of 2015, according to market research firm IDC.

Sales of external enterprise storage systems did better, slipping only 3.8 percent from last year's same quarter, to $429 million. And IBM's all-flash storage array sales did well in the first quarter of 2016, with sales rising 47 percent over last year's same quarter, to $67 million.

IBM storage is doing well for a business that is moving more and more toward software-defined technology, said Tom Hughes, director of alliances for the Technology Solutions Group of Ciber, a Greenwood Village, Colo.-based solution provider and IBM channel partner.

"We're seeing infrastructure as a whole moving towards software-defined," Hughes told CRN. "That's an area I expect Walsh will focus on. IBM has been pulling together some of the pieces in its Spectrum platform. But it still includes some hardware pieces like IBM Spectrum Scale flash storage."

One of the challenges Walsh faces as part of his new role at IBM is how to articulate the benefits of IBM's storage hardware business, such as IBM's DS family vs. EMC or its XIV family vs. new players like Infinidat, Hughes said.

"At the end of the day, IBM has to decide, is it a hardware company or a software company?" he said.