HPE VP Chuck Smith Named CEO Of Apeiron Data Systems


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Vice President Chuck Smith, who was overseeing the company's $7 billion U.S. data center and hybrid cloud business, has been named CEO of software accelerated big data storage provider Apeiron Data Systems.

The move comes with Apeiron – which has won raves for its data fabric software's ability to drive astronomical gains in big data performance – set to embark on a plan to substantially grow partner sales.

[Related: 5 Things To Know About Apeiron Data Systems' NVMe Storage Offering]

Smith, a 20-year HPE veteran who has held both product and business development jobs in the blade and cloud business unit for HPE, said he was blown away by Apeiron's patented end-to-end big data architecture and was looking forward to expanding Apeiron's channel reach.

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"What Apeiron is doing is groundbreaking," he said. "The company has created a fabric that allows off-the-shelf solid state or all flash to connect into big data/analytics applications like Splunk and other SIEM (security information and event management) platforms for high speed analytics. You are talking about microseconds turnaround with this fabric, which is unheard of. The performance and results this is generating from a customer perspective is what got me excited and led me to join this company."

Apeiron's secret sauce is its data fabric software, but it provides a complete end-to-end turnkey NVMe storage solution with its ADS1000, which began shipping in 2017 and is touted as the world's only native NVMe over ethernet storage product.

Smith, who did extensive due diligence on the technology before taking the CEO job, said his charter is to significantly grow the business with a focus on a 100 percent channel sales model. "My job is to chart the partner and customer landscape to ensure we grow in a big way," he said. "I am very excited that the technology differentiation and road map is there to ramp and scale the business."

The Apeiron software is allowing customers to do timely big data analysis that was simply impossible before Apeiron introduced its ethernet NVMe solution, said Smith.

Apeiron's NVMe storage solutions, in fact, have already been adopted by a number of customers including a medium sized financial institution that is using the product to take a job that used to take 24 hours down to just 73 minutes and a federal agency that has taken a job that used to take two to three weeks down to several hours.

Smith estimated the highly targeted NVMe big data analytics market alone that Apeiron is pursing a $5-$7 billion opportunity out of $50- $60 billion total market. "It's a huge opportunity," he said. "This is a solution that enterprise and public sector entities are investing in today."

Apeiron has already put in place a number of current partnerships including a deal with World Wide Technology, but is looking to build out its channel program. "Our focus is 100 percent channel not just today but going forward," said Smith, who is currently pulling together a channel investment and expansion plan. "My job is to drive our reach and penetration in the channel. Our intent is in 2019 to invest substantially in sales and partner resources to grow this globally in a big way. One of my charters is to create a channel program with the right channel enablement and business execution that partners look for."

The ideal target solution provider for Apeiron has big data storage and Splunk capabilities, said Smith. Also key is enterprise and public sector expertise. "This is a product for large enterprises and public sector customers that are ingesting terabytes a day and need this kind of retention and visibility on the SIEM side or are deploying digital marketplace or internet of things solutions," he said.

The Apeiron solution is opening up big opportunities in the on-premise SIEM market for storage infrastructure providers Splunk expertsie, said Smith.

Smith is also overseeing a move to bring in angel investors for the six year old company which was bootstrapped by founder and former CEO Lee Harrison, who is moving into a CTO role.

"Lee is an incredible engineer who has created a software defined solution," said Smith. "He is the technical brains behind the solution.He is going to be on the team helping us execute from a product and technology perspective. Lee knows we need a broader set of capabilities to ramp and grow the business.My job is to take it to the next level."

Kelly Ireland, founder and CEO of Orange, Calif.-based CB Technologies (CBT), one of the top high performance computing system integrators in the country, sees Smith's appointment as a game changer for Apeiron Data.

"I have worked with Chuck for 15 years," said Ireland. "He has got the channel and technology knowledge to make things happen. CBT is always looking for cutting edge technologies. I'm looking forward to getting more information on the company and its products and having our technical team take a look at it."

Smith's success at HPE came from his ability to drive win-win scenarios for both customers and channel partners, said Ireland. "Chuck brings a ton of knowledge and industry expertise," said Ireland. "When you are in startup mode like Apeiron that's a big asset."

Ireland, whose company is leading the charge on a refinery of the future big data solution with Texmark Chemicals, said high performance computing and big data is the fastest growing market opportunity for the channel. "We're seeing explosive growth," she said.

CBT overall sales grew 48 percent to $142 million this year based in large part on the company's high performance computing/big data success.

"What differentiates CBT is our integration capabilities and our ability to pull it all together for customers," she said. "There are lots of companies coming out with hardware and software. We make sure clients are getting the relevant data they need to be successful."

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider, said he sees Smith's appointment as a call to arms of sorts for partners to step up their big data charge.

"It's good to see someone like Chuck Smith pushing the technology envelope, thinking past where we are today and bringing the channel into the big data market with a new architecture" he said. "Everyone is talking about big data and real time analytics. It's important for all of us in the channel to get ahead of this market. If we don't provide these solutions for our customer someone else will. What's exciting is Chuck understands the power of the channel."

Smith, for his part, said he couldn't be more excited about the road ahead for Apeiron. "The team that is here has done a super job of getting us to this point," he said. "I am really excited to be here with the team and see what we can do. There is a lot of work to do but it is a huge opportunity. It is really cool. I am just overjoyed."