The Top 25 Innovators Of 2013

There's a saying in football that no lead is safe. Right now, perhaps more than at any other time, that applies to the IT industry as well. As the pace of technology evolution quickens, no IT company, no matter how big and dominant it may be, is invulnerable. Smaller companies and startups, meanwhile, find themselves battling in an ever-more competitive IT arena to survive, let alone thrive.

As part of our ranking of the Top 100 Executives Of 2013, CRN looks at the 25 innovators who are setting the technology course.

Chief Technologist, CommVault	

It's been a busy year for De Meno, who helped CommVault come to market with the latest version of its data management software platform, Simpana 10, in March. The new platform, according to the company, offers up to two times faster backup and archiving speeds, along with 300 other enhancements compared with its predecessor, Simpana 9.

CTO, Rackspace

Without Engates, Rackspace being able to cement a leadership position in the ultracompetitive cloud market might not have seemed so easy. In addition to his work around OpenStack, Engates is now nudging Rackspace into the burgeoning big data space, most recently through its acquisition of database-as-a-service provider ObjectRocket.

Founder, Chairman, CEO, GoGrid

GoGrid is creating a lot of buzz these days as a "pure-play" IaaS provider that can help businesses manage applications and workloads on its hosted cloud platform. The company, which offers fixed-size, paid-by-the-VM and Xen-virtualized IaaS, was named a Niche Player in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Cloud IaaS vendors.

CTO, Brocade	

Cheng's leadership has led Brocade to double down on its efforts around virtualized data centers and SDN, resulting in Brocade's 2012 acquisition of SDN startup Vyatta, along with its recent launch of a new network virtualization gateway for VMware's NSX virtualization platform.

EVP (EMC), Executive Chairman (RSA), EMC/RSA

Coviello is in the middle of RSA’s strategy to get beyond its core SecurID hardware token business. The company made numerous acquisitions, including Aveksa, Silver Tail Systems and NetWitness, and is going to phase out its EnVision security information event management appliances. The goal is to create a big data analytics platform with the NetWitness network monitoring engine at its core. Coviello is seen as the driving force behind emerging security technology and has been putting RSA in the lead.

CEO, Citrix Systems

Templeton this year turned his attention to taking Citrix mobile, unveiling multiple new offerings that combine virtual desktop, virtual application and mobile application technologies to help businesses build enterprise-ready apps for an increasingly mobile workforce. Citrix also overhauled its partner program this year to focus on higher-value partners.

Engineer, Dropbox

Dropbox this year nabbed Eccelston, the former chief architect of VMware’s End User Computing group, to help fuel the transformation of its consumer-focused file share and sync technology into an enterprise mainstay. In addition to its recent launch of Dropbox for Business -- a version of its technology purpose-built for the enterprise -- Dropbox introduced a channel program this June to further accelerate its business blitz.

CEO, Allscripts

As CEO of Allscripts, one of the foremost specialists in electronic medical records applications and services, Black continues to open Allscripts’ doors to the channel and help solution providers cash in on today’s booming health-care market. Allscript recently launched a new version of its flagship Professional EHR platform, which can send and receive secure messages with patients through full patient portal integration.

GM, Data Management, CA Technologies

Over the past year, Crest, a longtime friend of the channel, has helped CA expand its ARCserve Managed Service Provider Licensing Program, enabling service providers to flexibly license CA ARCserve on a monthly basis to their clients.

Co-Founder, CEO, Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky is seen as a visionary when it comes to antimalware technology and advanced threat detection. His motto? Kaspersky Lab will “save the world” from cybercrime. The company’s core antivirus suite has been bolstered with mobile defenses, vulnerability and patch management and IT management capabilities. In addition to building out the company’s endpoint security platform, Kaspersky is leading an engineering team with the hope of unveiling a highly secure operating system intended for critical infrastructure protection

Founder, CEO, Datto

McChord, who founded Datto in 2007, has led the backup and business continuity software provider to four consecutive years of 300 percent year-over-year growth, an impressive spike due in part to Datto's unique mix of on- and off-site solutions and to its growing channel footprint, which now includes more than 5,000 partners.

CEO, Western Digital

Milligan helped grow Western Digital significantly this year through a number of acquisitions, including that of flash storage developer Virident. In addition to bolstering Western Digital's enterprise SSD business, it was a strategic shot across the bow at Western Digital arch-rival Seagate, which also is a Virident partner.

President, CEO, Veeam Software

Timashev has set his sights on making Veeam -- a software provider for data backup and replication in virtual environments -- a $1 billion company within the next five years. And, to reach that goal, he has plans to significantly broaden Veeam's focus, potentially targeting new areas such as data management, analysis and reduction.

EVP, Cloud Infrastructure, Management, VMware

Raghuram helped champion what's become a key mantra of VMware these days: software-defined data centers are a must to realize the true value of the cloud. With that concept in mind, Raghuram played a critical role in the launch of VMware's flagship SDN platform NSX this year.

Distinguished Engineer, Amazon Web Services

Hamilton, vice president and distinguished engineer at Amazon Web Services, is responsible for keeping the giant AWS cloud -- and all of the vendors that use it to run this businesses -- hitting on all cylinders. Prior to joining Amazon, Hamilton spent 12 years at Microsoft, where he helped design the container approach that Microsoft uses in its cloud data centers.

VP, NetApp

Pawlowski stepped down from his role as NetApp CTO last year to lead development of the company's new FlashRay all-flash storage solution. As the lead of this "skunkworks" project, Pawlowski proved that sometimes it pays for a company to roll up its sleeves and build technology from scratch, rather than just acquiring it from someone else.

CEO, CloudSherpas

Northington has molded CloudSherpas into a true, born-in-the-cloud solution provider, with the company today providing a range of cloud broker and integration services, primarily around Google Apps and's cloud CRM applications. This year, CloudSherpas nabbed the No. 1 spot on CRN's Fast Growth 150 list.

CEO, Exablox

Brockett brought Exablox out of stealth mode this year with a solution called OneBlox, designed to bring enterprise storage capabilities to the SMB market. OneBlox, which initially targets the management of unstructured data, can be managed through Exablox's cloud-based management software OneSystem, meaning recurring revenue opportunities for partners.

Director, Channel Development, FiberLink

Daumard, former mobility channel development manager at Apple, jumped ship to mobile device management vendor Fiberlink in July. Now, in the midst of what he calls an MDM "perfect storm," Daumard is overseeing a new Fiberlink channel program that he expects to house "thousands" of mobility-hungry partners by the end of 2014.

CTO, Riverbed

As one of Riverbed's earliest employees in 2003, Wu played a crucial role in developing the architecture for Riverbed’s flagship Steelhead WAN optimization appliance. Now, as the company's recently appointed CTO, Wu continues to drive development around Riverbed's Granite storage solution and other disruptive technologies.

Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Cisco

As Cisco's chief technology and strategy officer, Warrior has had helped the networking giant keep pace with industry trends such as software-defined networking and the Internet of Things, particularly through Cisco's new "application-centric infrastructure" and Insieme Networks spin-in.

VP, GM, Hyperscale Business Unit, HP

Santeler was the driving force behind one of HP's biggest product launches of the year: its Moonshot Servers. Representing what one HP partner called the "next paradigm shift in servers," the first-generation Moonshot servers use up to 89 percent less energy and 80 percent less space than their predecessors.

CEO, Pure Storage

Pure Storage develops what it calls enterprise-class, all-flash storage arrays, including its new FlashArray 400 Series, based on its own software and commodity flash hardware. And with Dietzen at the helm, Pure Storage is not going unnoticed; the startup in August secured a whopping $150 million in investor funding, bringing its total value to roughly $1 billion.

Executive Director, Cloud Management, Dell

Reese came to Dell this May through its acquisition of Enstratius (formerly enStratus), where Reese was CTO. Today, Enstratius' multicloud management technology is set to propel Dell's transformation from a PC maker to a cloud and services powerhouse.

CTO, Chief Architect, Server Storage Software Group, EMC

When EMC acquired storage startup ScaleIO in July, EMC partners told CRN the deal was nothing less than huge. That's because, in addition to the potentially massive implications that ScaleIO's Elastic Converged Storage could have on the way EMC partners sell both storage and the cloud, the technology could emerge as the key driver of EMC's burgeoning software-defined storage strategy.

Thank ScaleIO's founder and former CTO Erez Webman, one of the masterminds behind the technology. According to ScaleIO, Elastic Converged Storage eliminates the need for a SAN by tying together the storage capacity of multiple servers. It works by building a scalable file system from thousands of existing and newly purchased servers, allowing for a scalable storage architecture without needing specialized storage administrators or adding to the workload of existing server admins. ScaleIO now operates within EMC's Emerging Technologies Product Division.