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SolidFire Raids HP for President, VP International

RJ Weigel was VP for Americas global accounts in HP’s Enterprise Storage Organization

HP may have noticed by now that two of the storage guys it picked up when it bought 3PAR for an overpriced $2.35 billion aren’t in their cubicles.

Nope, they’re over at SolidFire, the hot new storage start-up, where – if the technology is all it’s cracked up to be – they’re likely to make another killing whether it ultimately gets bought or goes public.

RJ Weigel, who was VP for Americas global accounts in HP’s Enterprise Storage Organization, a billion-dollar business, is now president of SolidFire.

A veteran of both NetApp and Cisco, he was VP of worldwide sales and field operations at 3PAR.

Tim Pitcher, who was senior director of global account storage at HP responsible for retaining 3PAR customers and building up HP’s global storage position, is now VP of SolidFire International.

He used to be a 3PAR VP focused on the rapid growth of customers, channel base and strategic service providers.

SolidFire already has an established presence in Europe and Pitcher says “it’s time to scale the business across the globe.”

When it became clear that HP was limiting its resale relationship with Violin Memory, another flash storage start-up, HP said 3PAR was its strategic platform for solid-state storage. Ah, well.

SolidFire has also hired itself a CFO – John Hillyard, who was CFO of DataLogix, LeftHand Networks (another HP acquisition) and FrontRange Solutions. Former LeftHand CEO Bill Chambers is on the SolidFire board.

RJ, who’s supposed to make sure the start-up’s sales and marketing get real traction, said, “I’ve taken a close look at many of these new companies in the cloud space and no one has the combined technological and competitive advantage that SolidFire has.”

Founded in 2009 by former Rackspace exec Dave Wright, SolidFire just started delivering its all-SSD primary storage system specifically for cloud providers last month. RJ calls it an “arms dealer.”

It’s supposed to be able to guarantee sustained performance to thousands of servers from a single storage system along with firm SLAs in the cloud.

It fancies it’s leading a revolution, changing what’s possible for enterprise computing in the cloud.

It uses Dell as its OEM manufacturer and is partnering with Citrix, OpenStack, CloudStack, Arista Networks, Canonical, OnApp, Tier 3 and VMware. It can handle up to 216 virtual machines per rack unit, reportedly solves the noisy neighbor problem on multi-tenant clouds, and is supposed to offer up to 85% system utilization. It’s got real-time data reduction and system-wide automation.

It goes for under $1 per IOP and $4 a GB. Figure spending at least $144k.

It can scale to a 1PT system, which is probably why it regards EMC as its biggest rival. However it thinks traditional storage is too slow, too complicated and too expensive for large-scale cloud services.

It’s in a hyper-competitive space so it has to ward off BetApp, Dell, HP and IBM too not to mention start-ups like Nimble and Pure Storage.

It’s operating on $37 million in VC funding and reportedly still has half of it left though it’ll likely go back to the well next year to underwrite its global initiative. SolidFire’s first public customers are ViaWest, Databarracks, Calligo and CloudSigma.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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