Scalable File System Startup Qumulo Hires Storage Channel Vet Leonard Iventosch


Long-time storage channel veteran Leonard Iventosch is joining hot storage startup Qumulo where he will lead the company in bringing out its first formal channel program.

Iventosch brings a strong storage channel pedigree to Qumulo, a Seattle-based developer of scalable file system technology which sells only through channel partners and via Hewlett Packard Enterprise on an OEM basis.

Iventosch left HPE in October following HPE's acquisition a year ago of Nimble Storage, where he spent a couple years as vice president of worldwide channels. He also spent a couple years managing channels at Isilon before moving to EMC after EMC acquired Isilon. Prior to that was the chief architect of NetApp's push to become a channel-friendly storage giant.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE's Antonio Neri Discusses Nimble Storage Acquisition And Nimble's Lenovo And Cisco Relationships]

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For Iventosch, the challenge of working with a startup like Qumulo was too much to resist. "I would rather build stuff than be part of a large company," he told CRN.

Prior to joining Qumulo, Iventosch worked with the company for three or four years in an advisory role before agreeing to take a more strategic role at the company, he said. He also worked closely with many of Qumulo's executives during his time at Isilon.

"Qumulo has a 100-percent channel-first focus," he said. "Every account manage, every sales engineer, is focused on the channel's success. I get to be involved in building its channel program."

Qumulo on Thursday unveiled the Qumulo Partner1st program, which Iventosch said was designed to be simple and profitable for partners.

"At big companies I worked at before like EMC, partner programs can be complicated," he said. "Partners sometimes have to hire people just to manage the programs on their end. Our goal is a simple program with self training and rich margins."

Those rich margins Iventosch talked about stem from a focus on software, he said. "Qumulo is the first place I have been where the margins don't depend on hardware," he said. "We depend on selling recurring services. We don't want to get into margin wars."

Except for some OEM business with HPE, which goes through HPE's channel program, Qumulo is focused exclusively on channel partners, Iventosch said.

"Being able to say we are not 90-percent or 95-percent channel makes it easier to have partner conversations," Iventosch said. "We can talk about having partnerships over the long term."

Aaron Cardenas, CEO and founder of P1 Technologies, a Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based solution provider and Qumulo channel partner, said he is excited to see Iventosch join the vendor.

Cardenas told CRN that he worked with Iventosch while Iventosch was at both NetApp and Isilon.

"Leonard is one of the best channel leaders in storage, maybe in all of IT," he said. "He's a good guy. He knows how to build a channel plan and then execute on it."

Cardenas, who was working at NetApp Iventosch joined that company in 2000, said he would argue that Iventosch built NetApp's channel program.

"I was NetApp's first channel rep when he joined, and I can tell you there was no channel program then," he said. "It took a Herculean effort to build the channel, and Leonard did it."

Iventosch moved to Isilon at about the same time that P1 was founded, Cardenas said. "That gave us confidence to work with Isilon because we knew how he could persuade management to take the channel point of view," he said.

Qumulo has the kind of conflict between its OEM sales and channel sales that many new storage companies have, Cardenas said. "When Qumulo sells via HPE, it needs to make sure it plays by the same rules we do," he said. "Leonard can absolutely make sure that will happen."

Dave Van Hoy, president and founder of Advanced Systems Group, an Emeryville, Calif.-based solution provider and Qumulo channel partner, also works with NetApp and Isilon, although he said he had not met Iventosch in the past.

Van Hoy told CRN Qumulo's hiring of Iventosch is a big move for the company because of all the former Isilon people there, including President and CEO Bill Richter, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Peter Godman, and Vice President of Worldwide Sales Eric Scollard.

"We call Qumulo 'Isilon 2.0' because of all the ex-Isilon people there," he said. "I'm sure Bill, Peter, and Eric are comfortable working with Leonard."

Qumulo has been strengthening what is already a good channel program, Van Hoy said.

"Iventosch's joining the company seems to correspond with Qumulo's expansion to Europe," he said. "This seems to be a leveling of the channel with worldwide experience, and not just U.S. experience."