2010 Storage Superstars: 25 You Need To Know

The People That Make Storage Happen

Advances in storage hardware, software, management, and virtualization technology could never have taken place without the dedication, nay, the fanaticism, of a dedicated group of Storage Superstars.

These talented individuals and teams have spent years or decades developing their expertise and perfecting the art of storing, recovering, archiving, and protecting data. And, more often than not, they have done so without receiving the kind of recognition that their colleagues in sales and marketing or at larger companies have received.

Here, we spotlight 25 of the individuals and teams that looked into the future to design today's storage industry. See the June 2010 issue of CRN for our full list of the 2010 Storage Superstars.

iSCSI For Everybody

Kristof Franek, President
Janusz Bak, CTO

Open-E is a developer of software for building SAN appliances. Franek and Bak were early developers of software that turned industry-standard servers into iSCSI SAN appliances, and were among the first to make it possible for system builders to build custom storage appliances.

Early Storage Pioneer At VMware

Lee Caswell
Co-founder, CMO
Pivot 3

Pivot3 is a developer of appliances for building scalable SANs. Caswell contributed to the Firewire standard and helped define the Ultra160 SCSI interface specification while at Adaptec. He also was the first storage engineer at VMware, and was an early developer of real-time video capture products for video surveillance.


Brantley Coile
Founder and CTO

Coraid provides technology for building low-cost, scalable SANs using the ATA-over-Ethernet protocol. Coile created the ATA-over-Ethernet storage protocol at Coraid. Prior to that, he invented the PIX firewall appliance for Network Translation, which was eventually acquired by Cisco.

Bringing Backup To The Cloud

David Farajun

Asigra provides the ability for managed service providers and solution providers to offer cloud-based storage. Farajun started developing backup software for service providers in 1986. He developed multi-tenant backup and recovery technology and brought enterprise-level backup to the cloud.

Early Developer Of iSCSI And IP SAN

Chris Farey

StorMagic enables the quick deployment of virtual SANs in VMware vSphere environments. Prior to StorMagic, Farey developed Adaptec’s iSCSI and IP SAN product road maps. He also was the chief software architect for IBM iSCSI-Fibre Channel arrays and an early developer of iSCSI appliances.

SSD Pioneer

Holly Frost
Founder and CEO
Texas Memory Systems

A pioneer in the SSD industry, Frost founded TMS in 1978 to offer high-performance, low-latency enterprise data storage and digital signal processing systems. He is still the chief engineer and architect of the company’s RamSan SSD line.

Storage Standards

Bill Galloway
Co-founder and CTO

Pivot3 is a developer of appliances for building scalable SANs. Galloway was an early developer of an integrated RAID-on-chip solution, and is named on 24 storage related patents. He has also been actively involved in storage technologies and standards such as SAS, SATA, SCSI, Fibre Channel, and RAID.

Bringing Microsoft Experience To Storage

Praerit Garg, President and Co-founder
Bassam Tabbara, CTO and Co-founder

Symform's technology carves data into small pieces and scatters them around the Internet for data protection and security. Garg and Tabbara are ex-Microsoft engineers and between them have authored 36 patents. Gareg built and managed Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Platform and Tools team and has co-authored security standards, while Tabbara helped Microsoft’s early move to the Internet.

Adding Security To Cloud Storage

Chris Gladwin
Founder and CEO

Cleversafe develops technology to add security and resiliency to cloud-based storage. Gladwin developed the company’s ’dispersed storage’ technology to bypass traditional backup and archiving and add data security. He has more than 200 issued and pending patents.

Simplifying Storage

Fabrice Helliker
CTO and Product Architect

Cofio provides a single interface to manage storage from laptops and desktops to servers and to the cloud. Helliker first gained notice when he AT&T Bell Labs software into BakBone’s NetVault backup software. He also led the development of the first software virtual tape library, as well as the first backup product available simultaneously on Windows, Unix and Linux.

Long-time Storage Architect

Richie Lary
Corporate Fellow

Prior to joining Xiotech, a developer of enterprise-class storage appliances, in late 2009, Lary was a consultant and technical advisor to several emerging storage companies. He was a key architect for storage at DEC and Compaq which later formed the base for HP’s StorageWorks business, and holds 32 processor and storage system patents.

"Father of iSCSI"

John Matze
Vice President of System Storage Products

Exar is a developer of components and subsystems for the communications, networking, and storage industries. Matze was a key developer of the iSCSI standard, and helped architect several other common storage protocols. He founded a number of storage startups including Okapi and Siafu which were acquired by larger vendors.

New Company, Old Hand

Umesh Maheshwari
Co-Founder and CTO
Nimble Storage

Nimble Storage is a startup that is targeting the cost and complexity of storage. However, Maheshwari is no newbie. He helped develop deduplication, clustering, file system, and replication protocols at Data Domain. His 17 years of storage experience include developing cluster technology for metadata in scalable file servers at Zambeel.

Storage App And Virtualization Research

Claus Mikkelsen
CTO Storage Architectures
Hitachi Data Systems

HDS is one of the top-five storage array vendors. Mikkelsen is responsible for new technology research for storage applications, storage virtualization and data life cycle management. He was the former chief architect for IBM's storage replication and disaster recovery products.

Virtual Storage From Way Back

Alex Miroshnichenko
CTO and Co-founder

Virsto develops technology to cut I/) bottlenecks and increase storage density in Hyper-V virtualized environments. Miroshnichenko was an early developer of the Veritas File System and Veritas Database Edition for Oracle. He later was CTO of digital archiving provider PowerFile and backup software vendor Acronis, and now works with virtual server storage management at Virsto.

Bringing Open Source To Storage

Anand Babu ’AB’ Periasamy
Co-Founder and CTO

Gluster develops Open Source storage based on the GlusterFS file system. Periasamy is a leading figure in Open Source storage. He worked on scaling commodity clusters to supercomputer-class performance, and helped drive adoption of cluster computing and GNU/Linux at enterprise data centers. He is also a contributor to several Free Software projects.

Bringing Storage To Dell

Eric R. Schott
Director, Product Management

Dell is one of the top five storage and server vendors. Schott was the principal driver in developing the virtualized Peer Storage Architecture in EqualLogic SANs before that company was acquired by Dell. He also helps with real-time systems, log-based file systems, host volume managers, and clusters.

Driving Unified Storage

Shmuel Shottan

BlueArc is a developer of high-performance unified storage systems. Shottan led the delivery of the industry’s first network storage offering capable of supporting both Fibre Channel and ATA drives in the same cabinet. He also developed the world’s first hardware-based file system.

Kings Of Memory Chips And Good Deals

David Sun, Co-founder
John Tu, Co-founder

Kingston is a leading manufacturer of memory chips used in all manner of IT devices. Sun's and Tu's work in developing SIMM memory modules using older through-hole memory chips led to today’s memory industry. They sold the company in 1996, gave a $100M bonus to employees, and then bought the company back in 1999 at a fire sale price.

eDiscovery And Making Data Actionable

Ramana Venkata
Iron Mountain Digital

Iron Mountain is a provider of storage-as-a-service based in part on technology it got with the 2007 acquisition of Stratify. Venkata founded Stratify, where he developed technology related to eDiscovery and making data actionable for profit, compliance, and legal applications.

The Challenger

Dan Warmenhoven
Chairman, Executive Chairman, and Former CEO

NetApp is the second-largest independent storage vendor. Warmenhoven led NetApp for 11 years, and was the driving force behind his growing from a small startup to challenge storage leader EMC and open up the NAS market.

From Tape To Converged Infrastructure

Mark Watkins
HP Fellow, StorageWorks

Watkins has 20-plus years experience in storage starting with the development of several tape formats. He is now driving scale-out storage and converged infrastructure technology at HP, making him one of the company's spear points in its fight against arch-rival Cisco.

Challenging Convention

Gary Watson
Co-Founder and CTO

The rise of SATA-based and SAS-based storage to compete with expensive Fibre Channel in the enterprise was due primarily to Nexsan. Watson helped push that trend by spearheading the release of the first data center ATA storage arrays. He was responsible for developing the first ATA-based disk storage systems, which started the move toward disk-based backup.

IBM Master Inventor

Alex Winokur

Axxana's technology adds synchronous copy capabilities to other vendors' asynchronous replication technology. Winokur is an IBM Master Inventor and has authored/co-authored more than 15 patents in storage, network management and telecommunications. Prior to Axxana, he was CTO at XIV (acquired by IBM) and the founder of Sepaton.

Evangelizing Open Standards For Storage Management

Hu Yoshida
Vice President and CTO
Hitachi Data Systems

HDS is one of the top-five storage array vendors. Yoshida defines the technical direction for HDS, was responsible for evangelizing HDS’ storage virtualization approach and helps develop open standards for storage management. He spent 25 years with IBM’s storage division.

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