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VMware’s Former Storage R&D Boss Is HPE’s New Hybrid IT CTO

BlueData’s former CEO and co-founder will take over the CTO reigns for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Hybrid IT business unit.

Kumar Sreekanti, the former VMware storage R&D chief who led the vSAN development charge, is taking the CTO post for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Hybrid IT business unit.

Sreekanti, who was also previously co-founder and CEO of artificial intelligence big data pioneer BlueData, which HPE acquired last November, will be responsible for HPE’s Hybrid IT technology strategy and future road map.

“As HIT (Hybrid IT) CTO, Kumar will manage the office accountable for HIT’s technology strategy and future roadmap to deliver superior customer experiences at superior economics, with a distinct focus on software-defined experiences and consumption-driven models,” said Hybrid IT President Phil Davis in a blog post announcing the appointment. “He will partner closely with our HIT Business Units and Software R&D group to ensure we consistently drive our customers’ most important business outcomes at the best value for any workload.”

[Related: VMware’s Pat Gelsinger On ‘All-In’ Container Bet And HPE ‘Commitment’]

Sreekanti, who takes the position effective Aug. 1, replaces Ric Lewis, a 32-year HPE veteran who was senior vice president and general manager of HPE’s Software Defined & Cloud Group. Lewis joined HP in 1987, spending his earlier years leading design teams in computer system, chipset, CPU, and firmware development for a broad range of products. His long tenure included roles such as vice president and general manager for HPE’s enterprise server business, as well as senior vice president and general manager for Converged Data Center Infrastructure.

Davis singled out Sreekanti as one of the “brightest minds” in the business. “Kumar joined HPE through the company’s acquisition of BlueData and brings nearly three decades of engineering and technology R&D experience to the role,” said Davis. “Prior to BlueData, Kumar was vice president of R&D at VMware where he was responsible for new technology innovations such as vSAN, Virtual Volumes, and Virtual Flash.”

Sreekanti’s VMware vSAN software defined storage experience could be critical as HPE builds out its multi-cloud software defined storage platform and strategy which includes VMware’s software defined offerings. He was vice president of R&D for VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit from 2009 to 2012, according to LinkedIn. Sreekanti has decades of executive experience in the IT industry including roles such as Chairman and CTO of Agami Systems and vice president of engineering for Akamai Technologies.

In April, HPE announced the new HPE vSAN ReadyNodes designed to help customers who want to build their own hybrid cloud.

“For me this is just one more sign that both HPE and VMware realize that their solutions work better together,” said one source close to both companies speaking about the appointment of Sreekanti speaking on condition on anonymity. ”Partners are already having success with HPE vSAN ReadyNode. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an enhanced partnership between HPE and VMware at VMworld in August as both companies build out their cloud strategies.”

In a recent interview with CRN, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger reaffirmed his company’s commitment to HPE, saying VMware is “absolutely committed to the partnership.”

“[HPE CEO] Antionio [Neri] and I we had a quarterly business review not that long ago and we have another one coming up. We have a regular executive cadence. We just have to constantly refreshing [our goals together] because there is this natural tendency for us to build on the great momentum with Dell. So it requires diligence on my part. I’m highly committed to that,” said Gelsinger. “We are by no means satisfied with where we are and we’re committed to continue to extend and build more unique opportunities with HPE. Some of their aspirations to subscription-based hardware offerings is pretty leadership in the industry.”

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