Feeds

Behold: Ten storage chieftains whose products hold humanity's data

Biz lords who rule the collective memory of the race

Application security programs and practises

Who are the ten most influential storage bosses? It should be an easy list to make but what do we mean by influential and should they be currently in post?

"Influential" means more than that just "our customers have bought boatloads of our kit!" An influential company's competitors have had to react to its products and strategy as well.

To create a cut-off we'll insist that our influential leaders are currently in post, which rules out people like Michael Klayko, who recently resigned from Brocade after leading the consolidation of the SAN networking industry.

Other great leaders of the storage world ruled out by this include John Coyne, who led Western Digital past Seagate, and Evan Powell, who powered ZFS-using Nexenta to its current prominence.

That said, who are we putting on our list? In reverse order we have...

10. Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston who spurred on the file sync'n'share market via a nifty consumer-friendly cloud store. All manner of established players and startups scrambled after Dropbox to create something more secure, more enterprise class, cheaper, whatever but Dropbox sails on serenely leaving crap competitors like Apple's iCloud in its wake. Now Amazon, in whose massive (and cheap) vaults Dropbox stores its customers' files, has followed suit with its me-too, Dropbox refreshed Cloud Drive

9. Don Basile, the CEO of all-flash array startup Violin Memory. Basile came to the CEO's post after being ousted from Fusion-io, the PCIre flash card hardware and software start-up, and, some would say, has a flash chip (geddit?) on his shoulder as a result. Violin showed that all-flash arrays had great speed advantages over disk drive arrays, in data access terms, and were also affordable. Many all-flash array startups and several hybrid array startups have been influenced by Violin and are trying to do array storage better.

8. Frank Frankovsky, who leads Facebook's Open Compute Project, is almost single-handedly re-writing the server and storage array rules with the elimination of vendor-specific frippery and feature froth in favour of raw, vanilla stripped-down, back-to-basics hardware features that deliver low cost, low power use, high performance and cost-efficiency in hyper-scale data centres. Taiwanese ODMs are cock-a-hoop while mainstream server and storage suppliers are shitting bricks in case enterprises follow in Facebook's path

7. Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon, is the forward face of Amazon's efforts to destroy the mainstream storage supplier business model. Stick your data in the cloud! Give us every last byte of your data, they say, and we'll store it cheaper, better, more securely, more conveniently and with simple provisioning. Like a lake's algal bloom, it's growing into a monster, an unstoppable monster starving the waters for other fish.

6. David Scott runs HP's storage business after that company bought 3PAR when he was its CEO. Now he heads up StorageWorks, re-branding HP's storage product landscape and ending the agony of EVA users by adding an all-flash array under the 3PAR/StoreServe data management comfort blanket. He's also the potentially lucky guy presiding over Memristor storage products. The canny and genial Scott is not to be under-estimated.

5. Stephen Milligan is the CEO of Western Digital, having led Hitachi GST when WD bought it. Milligan inherited John Coyne's crown and has given WD super-storage technology, like a line of SSDs co-developed with Intel and sprung helium-filled disk drives onto the market, promising significantly higher capacities in the same physical enclosure. If this works then WD/HGST has a significant edge over Seagate and Toshiba.

4. Jack Domme, the CEO of Hitachi Data Systems, has taken HDS and led it under the overall Hitachi umbrella, bringing a dose of western pragmatism to the cautious Japanese storage subsidiary. HDS is one of the top five storage array suppliers, the others being EMC, NetApp, IBM and HP. The purchase of BlueArc and its hardware-accelerated NAS arrays was a landmark event and HDS's current file, block and object storage strategy is arguably leading the unified storage field. HDS' in-house flash controller will, if its endurance claims pan out, put HDS in a good all-flash array and PCIe flash card position.

3. One company is leading the PCIe server flash card revolution and that is Fusion-io, led by co-founder David Flynn. As fast as competitors bring out me-too PCIe flash card products Fusion-io is sprinting away from them, bringing out higher capacity cards, managing OEM contracts better, developing clever software to bypass a server host OS's lumbering disk IO sub-system and crafting eye-catching marketing initiatives, like getting 9.6 million IOPS from a single flash card. Fusion-io is the server flash company to beat.

2. Steven Lukzo leads Seagate, now the second-largest disk drive company in the world. As its chairman and previous CEO he has played a pivotal role in the consolidation of the disk drive industry to its current three-player situation. Seagate has been in tape storage, has a division in cloud back-up storage in the shape of EVault, and is moving into solid-state storage with its Pulsar line of products. Can Lukzo lead Seagate to success? If he can, then he'll have sealed a place in the pantheon of truly great storage leaders.

1. Guess who? It's got to be EMC's chairman and CEO Joe Tucci. His accomplishments (apart from the minor one of rescuing EMC when he first became its CEO), include such things as buying Data Domain and destroying NetApp's disk-to-disk backup and virtual tape library strategy at a stroke, as well as turning Data Domain into a million dollar business. EMC pioneered the use of flash storage in arrays, which now every other storage array supplier is doing. Big Joe T turned EMC into an acquisition machine, with notable purchases including VMware, Greenplum, Isilon, and XtremIO.

Then there's the converged systems VCE company, set up with Cisco and VMware. There's also the private and public cloud storage idea ... and who could forget EMC's championing of Big Data?

Tucci has amassed an industry-leading depth of talent at the top of EMC; with Pat Gelsinger at VMware, Paul Maritz at the Pivotal Initiative, and David Goulden as COO and president of EMC, hoping that when he goes EMC will stay at the top of the storage business. Joe Tucci is known as the Godfather and is, El Reg asserts, the single most influential storage leader in the business today. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.