My Move to SolidFire

Cut to the chase; today 7/16/2014 I join SolidFire! I’m doing this to:

  1. Further build out some of their most strategic technology partnerships including VMware, Citrix Systems and others
  2. Work with an elite team of solution architects focusing on areas like virtual infrastructure and virtual desktops, orchestration, automation and database systems
  3. Work with the SolidFire sales team to drive business development across our strategic alliances, service providers, and most importantly, my homebase; Channel partners!
  4. Bring together all of the above through SolidFire’s Agile Infrastructure converged infrastructure design

I’ve spent over two decades in the IT industry as a Channel Solutions Provider.  Over this past decade with the rise of the virtual data center and now software defined enterprise, I’ve had the chance to exploit unique opportunities including the rise of the SAN through EMC, the rise of CommVault and Veeam, the rise of dedupe with Data Domain, and now the rise of the all-flash array market.

In June of 2013, I launched the “Flash Storage Forum” in Minneapolis with nine of the most advanced, independent Flash and hybrid storage vendors.  Since then I’ve been watching the market closely, while advancing the “Flash Decision Methodology” that I most recently presented at a recent VMUG in Minneapolis. As I searched for a real, sustainable value proposition, I became impressed with what I heard from the SolidFire team.

Why SolidFire?  It’s Not About The Flash.

My pilgrimage to establish the Flash Decision Methodology led me to the conclusion that a client’s purchasing decision usually ends at criteria beyond the physical medium.  In SolidFire, I found something unique that extended well beyond the raw performance of flash. Beyond the speeds and feeds-centric arguments that have overrun the market, SolidFire resonated with me because of their alignment with:

  • Workloads (plural)… lots of them combined – Flash is fast, but so what?  What mattered was how an architecture aligned to accommodate both performance and control. Read/Write, block size, usage during burst, etc.  How about mixing tier 1 workloads AND regular workloads AND VDI?  For SolidFire, that capability is built into the core of the architecture.
  • Web Scale?  Try “At Scale” – When an organization needs to address scale, historically the choices were scaling up or out. The recent wave of “web scale” architectures suggest this is accomplished through a Google-like file system.  Scaling up or out requires an architecture that can sustain the requirements of a Software Defined Data Center with automation enabled to application tiers.  Without QoS, high availability, raidless architecture, programmatic automation, and in-line efficiency, those application tiers are a wish list. SolidFire impressed me with its scale-out architecture that addressed all of those points!
  • Solutions Affinity – This is my favorite. Software Defined should not be defined by over-eager marketing departments or a company’s decision to sell software separate from hardware. Instead, software defined is enabled by intelligent API driven interactions between control plans (think orchestration & automation layers like VMware, OpenStack & CloudStack) and data planes (where SolidFire comes in). Done right, these two layers work in harmony to support the needs of applications and higher-level services.

Where do I go from here?  What’s in store for Clients? The Channel?

My duties at SolidFire provide me the flexibility to work at the intersection of our key alliances like VMware and Citrix, the SolidFire salesforce and THE CHANNEL! SolidFire has a strong and growing Cloud Builders Channel Partner Program with solid momentum behind it. Combining integrations with the likes of VMware, Citrix, and the explosive OpenStack community along with SolidFire’s solution I feel gives solutions providers a compelling and differentiated story in the crowded and noisy all-flash array market.

In sorting through all the noise in this market, I was eventually able to identify the signal. Now, I am doing something about it by joining SolidFire full-time starting today. This is going to be a fun ride! I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Keith Norbie @keithnorbie


2 thoughts on “My Move to SolidFire

  1. Pingback: Scaling out VMWorld 2014, the pre-show blog. Boom! | @keithnorbie virtual ideas

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