My VMWorld CEO Tour

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The last week of August is really close now so VMWorld is around the corner. This time I decided to take the trip across the Atlantic one week early to visit some friends (&Companies) in the Valley. As VMware is one of the biggest ecosystems today in the industry and VMWorld being it’s key event I will visit as many as possible CEO’s in the Valley for a short informal interview. The interviews will be uploaded (at least) 1 each day, starting Tuesday August 20th! Here are all confirmed CEO’s:

1) Dheeraj Pandey – CEO Nutanix

Very proud to have mr Pandey as my first guest. I haven’t made it a secret in my blogposts lately that I truly love this company. I haven’t really written yet about the technology but I do mention them when I think about Converged Infrastructure or x86 Mainframe. Mr. Pandey also gave me a very good quote when I asked him why Nutanix is in BeNeLux. They have a good concept and it’s well executed. With those two key elements and this visionary CEO they managed to build a very top notch sales team worldwide. 

2) Poojan Kumar – CEO PernixData

Last year Nutanix was a buzz at VMworld. This year PernixData promisses to fill in those steps. PernixData has some really smart people that had a significant role in building ESX data products and started this adventure to decently solve the performance issue in a scaleable clustered manner with server side cache. There is definitely a technology post coming on this later this year.

3) Scott Dietzen – CEO PureStorage

If you are looking at AFA (All-Flash Arrays) Pure is always one of the first you’ll find. This is another company of which I haven’t made it a secret that I like it. I wrote about PureStorage arriving in EMEA and Scott also provided me with a quote for one of my first 2013 blogposts. Very good attitude, humble when necessary, funny when possible. I am pretty confident that this visit will take a few hours. 

4) Kevin Brown – CEO Coraid

I haven’t had my hands on a Coraid system yet, but it still triggers me from time to time as it is a pretty unique solution that completely removes the SAN (design) and just runs storage through the raw Ethernet. You have to see it to believe it. I met Kevin a few times last year and looking forward to where they are today.


5) Greg Goelz – CEO Cloudbyte

Any company that claims “Guaranteed Storage QOS” deserves my attention. CloudByte recently got to their Series B funding shortly after appointing Greg Goelz as their new CEO. Just one year out of stealth and winner of last years Tech Trailblazer Award I am very curious how their future looks like. This if for now the only company in this list that hasn’t been at TechFieldDay yet but apparently that is already changing in the near future at Storage Field Day 4.

6) Kieran Harty – CEO Tintri

The list goes on! Tintri is one of those startups in the flash area that has proven not only to have a good idea but also on how to market it. Tintri is the first solution I have seen that is truly VM-aware instead of based on datastores/volumes. Where is Tintri today and where will you be next year is going to be an important question for mr. Harty.



7) Mark Lockareff – CEO Nexenta

Nexenta has been around with their products for over 6 years now. The product has a lively community, customer base and quite some technology partners. A few months ago Nexenta attracted Mark Lockareff as new CEO along with a series D funding. Together with the fact that former CEO Evan Powel is still on board as Chief Strategy Office this clearly means that Nexenta is focussing on growth.

8) Dave Wright – CEO Solidfire

Dave is again one of those passionate CEO’s I have met through the TechFieldDay events. Dave knows exectly what he is talking about and is a very decent panel speaker as well. Looking forward to meeting him again and this one promises to be on a very nice location!

9) Martin Mackay – CEO Neverfail

Neverfail has been around for over 12 years now and everyone knows neverfail through for example the HA technology in VMware. Recently Neverfail changed a few roles in the management team and mr. Mackay was part of that. Another thing that changed in the last year is that Neverfail is creating a new product bringing application HA and backup closer to each other. This could very well be a rebirth of Neverfail.



10) Arun Agarwal – CEO Infinio

Infinio might be the youngest company in the whole list. They just finished their A series funding earlier this year. Infinio claims to create a downloadable storage accelerator. This definitely is a company to follow as I suspect it might get bought faster than you’d suspect 🙂

11) Doron Kempel – CEO SimpliVity


Just a few months ago Forbes called Doron Kempel the “tech innovator who almost killed Saddam Hussein“, If you think they were joking, they were not. This is definitely going to be a CEO worth looking behind the curtains with! SimpliVity is one of the younger players in the Hyper-Converged infrastructure.

12) Ron Bianchini – CEO Avere 


Ron Bianchini is one of those CEO’s who has already done it before. Ten years ago Ron sold his company Spinnaker Networks to NetApp that led later to the Ontap GX scale out fler clusters. As what happens a lot with these kind of CEO’s they keep having those idea to do better and go beyond. Let’s find out what he’s up to now.

13) Suresh Vasudevan – CEO NimbleStorage


NimbleStorage has been one of those young storage startups that has proven to be successful already. I’ve met a lot of Nimble people in the last year and it will be interesting to hear the CEO’s perspective on that growth. Suresh Vasudevan has been CEO at Nimble for almost 3 years now so I reckon he’ll have one or two things to say about that growth path.

14) Tarkan Maner – CEO Nexenta

Nexenta had us all by surprise on Wednesday during the event. I knew while interviewing Mark Lockareff that “something” was going on but the answer I got was “some things are bigger than NDA” 🙂


So Nexenta announces a new CEO: Tarkan Maner, former CEO of Wyse, that got acquired two years ago by DELL. You’ll love this one as it is the most energetic CEO I have met on my tour! I was very lucky to be the first independent blogger to get Tarkan in front of my camera.

15) Mistery Guest – CEO …

I’ll be wrapping up the whole series with a special guest that probably has a good take on all of the people I have been interviewing. I won’t tell, you’ll have to guess!


Disclaimer: this series is just me, visiting friends. No-one is paying for these interviews.

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