The Top 25 Disrupters Of 2016

The Disrupters

All types of industries award innovation. But in IT, constant innovation may be the key to sustainability. In the rapidly evolving technology landscape, those getting ahead are not just finding new ways to solve customers' problems, they are finding ways to solve problems customers didn't even know they had.

In 2016, the disrupters are now being disrupted. The real innovation is occurring in the companies that are recognizing and capitalizing on the unexploited niche areas in enterprise technology.

Here we present the Top 25 Disrupters from CRN's Top 100 Executives of 2016, the executives that are leading the charge beyond traditional IT challenges and revolutionizing the market.

If you missed the rest of The Top 100 Executives Of 2016, sure to visit the complete list.

25. Douglas Grosfield


Five Nines IT Solutions

Douglas Grosfield, a technology and channel thought leader, is at the forefront of the strategic service provider revolution – building a new company to drive strategic business outcomes with higher levels of IT automation and best-in-class cloud services. Five Nines is deploying ground-breaking services at a rate that is more than twice as fast as traditional MSPs, driving huge productivity gains and return on investment for business leaders. Five Nines' customer acquisition rate is triple that of the traditional MSP.

No one is pushing the strategic service provider envelope faster and delivering more value to customers than Grosfield, who started Five Nines about a year ago after building one of the most respected MSPs in the country.

24. Steven Vicinanza

Co-Founder, CEO


Steven Vicinanza, the fearless leader of IT service provider BlueWave, which has since been sold, is now at the helm of Cirrity, a Cisco-powered cloud service provider with a 100 percent channel-only focus. An entrepreneur, Vicinanza has introduced game-changing cloud pricing models for channel partners buying and selling cloud. Under his command, Cirrity is helping solution providers get into the cloud, and even double their cloud margins.

23. David Hughes

Founder & CEO

Silver Peak Systems

As the head of one of the companies at the forefront of the software-defined WAN revolution, David Hughes is opening the door for solution providers to tap into one of the hottest technological advances to hit the networking market in years. He says using software to manage WAN links can help customers cut as much as 90 percent out of their connectivity costs. For Silver Peak channel partners, that means providing solutions that customers crave.

22. Tony DiBenedetto

Chairman, CEO

Concerto Cloud Services

You’ve got to love a vendor CEO who’s got a foot still firmly planted in the channel. Tony DiBenedetto established Concerto Cloud Services to offer highly performing, rapidly customizable private cloud hosting that delivers to partners a managed solution they can white-label for clients. DiBenedetto also still runs the show at Tribridge, a solution provider he co-founded almost 20 years ago.

21. Jeff Gardner


Jim Marsh

Chief Revenue Officer

Carousel Industries

Jeff Gardner and Jim Marsh are striving to make Carousel Industries a $1 billion solution provider by forming a partnership with Cisco for the first in the company's history. To turbocharge the building of its Cisco practice, Carousel recently acquired $140 million solution provider Atrion, which brings in about half its revenue from Cisco-related products and services.

20. Scott Dietzen


Pure Storage

All-flash storage startup Pure Storage hasn’t simply walked into a rapidly changing storage market—it has driven the change. At the helm is Scott Dietzen, pushing the company through an IPO, doubling growth, and becoming a major player not just among startups, but with legacy vendors like EMC, which have invested heavily in all-flash storage.

19. Lloyd Carney



At the helm of Brocade for nearly four years, Lloyd Carney has been forceful and direct in his ambitions for the company: build an agile, software-focused networking powerhouse to do battle with Cisco. Earlier this year, Carney led the acquisition of Ruckus Wireless, a clear shot over Cisco’s bow. He’s also made strides toward making Brocade a channel-focused company with the hiring late last year of Pete Peterson as global channel chief, who's also on this year's Top 100 list as one of CRN's 25 Channel Sales Leaders.

18. Peter McKay

President, COO


Veeam is nearly a $500 million company, and it’s got its sights set on topping $1 billion by 2019. To drive that kind of growth, the company shook up its leadership ranks in June, bringing in former VMware SVP Peter McKay to drive growth. McKay seems to fit the bill perfectly. He’s led start-ups, including one that was acquired by VMware, and he’s also a finance man with CEO experience.

17. Stuart McClure

CEO/President and Founder


Even before Stuart McClure orchestrated a $100 million Series D round of funding in June, solution providers had already identified Cylance as a hot company in an even hotter market: next-generation endpoint security. Now he has ensured that the feisty cybersecurity startup has ample runway to build up its stake in the market, where it's using artificial intelligence algorithms to predictively identify and stop malware and advanced threats.

16. Michael DeCesare



Since leaving Intel Security last year to join ForeScout, Michael Decesare has aimed to bolster the company’s channel and make it what he calls "the most promising company in IoT"by offering more security offerings for an increasingly connected number of devices. Most recently, Decesare has sought a channel chief with the operational expertise to build a strong and efficient partner ecosystem, leading to the recent hire of Todd DeBell to bolster opportunities for partners around IoT security.

15. Gonen Fink



Gonen Fink launched security startup LightCyber three years ago and since then has brought in $32 million in funding, including a $20 million Series B funding round in June. The 100 percent channel-sales company offers a ground-breaking breach detection platform that works to smoke out hackers already inside of the environment.

14. Kumar Mehta

Co-founder, CEO

Versa Networks

Since founding Versa Networks in 2012, former Juniper engineer Mehta has been busy helping service providers and enterprise business customers update their legacy networking infrastructure with software-defined WAN and Network Function Virtualization technology. Under Mehta's leadership, the startup is changing the way that the telecom industry is doing business by combining innovative next-generation technology with security.

13. Tom Bradicich

GM, VP, Servers and IoT Systems

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Tom Bradicich is driving Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s charge as the company dives into the Internet of Things market, launching its new IoT business last November. Bradicich has led the company’s efforts for dense scalable servers and IoT systems, as well as HP Discovery Lab, where partners can experiment with IoT products and solutions. Most recently, the company has capitalized on that business with the launch of new converged systems for IoT, in June announcing new Intel Xeon-based converged IoT systems designed for the network edge.

12. Luke Kanies

Founder, CEO


DevOps is all the rage these days, and Puppet Labs and its founder, Luke Kanies, deserve heaps of credit for pioneering the configuration management technology that these days routinely automates time-consuming data center tasks. Puppet helped replace the manual scripting approach that had long tormented server admins. A number of tech giants have poured money into the company, and VMware is both an investor and a strategic partner.

11. Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar



From a college-days startup in Sydney, Australia to last year’s IPO, Mike Cannon-Brookes (pictured, left) and Scott Farquhar bootstrapped Atlassian for many years into an enterprise software powerhouse. The global company has expanded well beyond its traditional focus on issue tracking technology, offering a portfolio of workplace collaboration, software development and workflow management products for on-premises or cloud deployments, counting a who’s who of the Fortune 100 companies as customers.

10. Walter Scott


SolarWinds MSP

Walter Scott, the former CEO of LogicNow, is a managed services veteran who recently took on perhaps the biggest challenge of his career after IT giant SolarWinds acquired his company. He's leading SolarWinds MSP, which combines LogicNow with the former's N-Able MSP business. Armed with the scale and resources of SolarWinds, Scott seems poised to boost profitability of MSP partners.

9. Amit Yoran



Amit Yoran, former director of the National Cyber Security Division in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, thinks the security industry needs to focus on visibility, analytics and threat intelligence technology. As RSA president, he has dumped products that don't fit with these areas. Despite speculation about the future of RSA under Dell, Yoran remains one of the industry's most outspoken figures.

8. Chris Wanstrath



Chris Wanstrath co-founded GitHub and has helped it become the go-to code repository for developers of all stripes. Now, he’s aiming to take GitHub to loftier heights by getting enterprises on board with the socially networked service, an effort that includes the hiring of seasoned channel executives. If successful, Wanstrath could help take GitHub’s business to the next level.

7. Mohit Aron



Ex-Google storage engineer Mohit Aron helped jump-start a data center revolution by co-founding hyper-convergence startup Nutanix. Now, he’s trying to boost efficiency of storage in non-production environments, an area that hasn’t received much attention. At Cohesity, Aron is leading the charge to help customers analyze and get value from the vast amounts of data stored in these environments.

6. Florian Leibert



Florian Leibert, a former tech lead at Twitter and Airbnb, founded Mesosphere as a way for organizations to ensure that apps running in containers get sufficient resources. He’s helped the startup attract several big-name customers and investments from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Microsoft. As containers continue to enter the mainstream, Leibert seems poised for even bigger wins.

5. Stephen Nigro

President, 3-D Printing

HP Inc.

Stephen Nigro, who has spent the entirety of his 34-year career at Hewlett-Packard, is leading HP Inc.’s charge into 3D printing. For partners, he’s become the go-to source information on technology that’s reinvigorating the old school printing market, as well as partner profitability. Few HP employees have seen more change at the company than Nigro, and partners value his wisdom.

4. Christian Chabot

Co-founder, CEO

Tableau Software

Christian Chabot has helped Tableau, a business analytics software vendor, carve out a niche in a highly competitive market using technology he helped developed as a student at Stanford University’s Department of Computer Science. While publicly-traded Tableau has been buffeted by recent market volatility, partners view the technology as key to extracting value from data.

3. Marius Haas

Chief Commercial Officer, President, Enterprise Solutions


Marius Haas, a 25-year industry veteran who leads Dell's enterprise business, is playing a prime role in helping partners and customers get ready for the company's acquisition of EMC. The popular executive has been telling partners they’ll have more opportunity in the combined channel program. So far, this message appears to be resonating. Haas is a fierce channel advocate and one of the big reasons Dell has been gaining share in the enterprise market. Look for Haas to be one of the key executives helping Dell successfully integrate and leverage EMC technology to drive further market share gains.

2. Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala

VP, GM, Internet of Things


Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, Intel’s number two executive, thinks the chipmaker is losing its edge, and he's not content to sit by and watch it happen. In an internal memo that surfaced in April, Renduchintala said Intel needs to speed product development and focus on execution, suggesting hiring outside talent might work. Intel needs to capitalize on the Internet Of Things, and Renduchintala intends to make sure it does just that.

1. Ben Golub



As CEO of Docker, the top startup building a business around Linux containers, Ben Golub is at the forefront of a technology whose rapid ascendance, it’s safe to say, caught the enterprise technology industry by surprise. Containers started out as a popular tool for developers and startups, but are now making real strides into the enterprise. And Golub, who joined Docker as CEO in 2013, has been instrumental in making this happen. Under his watch, Docker has focused on improving security, orchestration and networking for containers in enterprise environments. The approach is starting to pay dividends. Google, Red Hat, Spotify and other big name companies are now supporting Docker containers. In a recent interview, Golub said between 40 percent and 70 percent of all enterprises are now using Docker, to some degree, in their production environments. Docker under Golub is pursuing a path that will keep channel partners front and center in the coming container revolution. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, IBM, and a host of regional system integrators are already partners, and Golub says he intends to cast an even wider net for partners.

"We are very much a channel organization," Golub told CRN. "Beyond the potential for building, integrating, and reselling Docker, [containers] tend to enable great opportunities around change management, infrastructure management, and hybrid cloud." Golub thinks that within five years, the vast majority of all apps will be built and deployed using Docker containers, as opposed to the current virtual machine-based approach. If that happens, Docker could unseat VMware server virtualization as the dominant technology in the data center.