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All is not well on Mount Panasas: Five execs eject amid refocus

NAS biz gives El Reg the silent treatment

By Chris Mellor, 3 Feb 2016

Exclusive Panasas – the privately owned hybrid scale-out NAS appliance supplier – has suffered exec exits and is refocussing, but so far won't say what its new strategy is.

We contacted the firm after hearing rumors from a senior industry source about IP sales, but it was unable to respond until February 4. We did pick up hints of some sort of refocussing.

Prior to contacting Panasas we found out five executives have left, and mentioned that in the call to its PR people. It was not denied in subsequent communications from them.

Here are the five:

  • Bill Ribera, VP of worldwide field operations and sales, left Panasas in January 2016 to head up sales at Talena.
  • Dave Feldman, VP of sales in the Americas, left in November 2015 to head up sales at Osnexus.
  • Geoffrey Noer, VP of product management, says on LinkedIn he is a "marketing executive searching for new products to be passionate about."
  • Andre Franklin, senior product marketing manager, left in January.
  • Tim Mac – VP of engineering, quality and customer support – is "looking for a new job opportunity."

Martin Eves, who was VP for EMEA sales, is now VP for worldwide sales and field operations, picking up Bill Ribera's responsibilities. Ribera is still listed as vice president of worldwide sales and field operations on Panasas' management team web page.

Eves joined in July 2015 to help manage regional expansion. David Sallak joined Panasas in April 2015 as VP of industry marketing to expand its focus on vertical industries. These hires followed on from Jim Donovan becoming Panasas' chief marketing officer and Tom Shea its chief operating officer in November 2014.

At that time, CEO and president Faye Pairman talked of them helping to accelerate growth.

Panasas' latest generation ActiveStor 18 arrays were introduced in July 2015, with the firm saying it was looking to gain sales in the media and entertainment market.

Panasas was founded in 1999 by Garth Gibson, the RAID taxonomy co-developer, and William Courtright. It delivered its first PanFS (parallel file system)-based product in 2004. Gibson is currently its chief scientist and a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University.

Its last known funding rounds were in 2013 and involved a $15m private equity investment plus a $25.2m F-round from venture capitalists. Total funding that we know of is $65.2m. Known investors are Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Carlyle Group, Centennial Ventures, Evercore Partners, Goldman Sachs, Intel Capital, Novak-Biddle Venture Partners and Samsung Venture Investment Co.

A Samsung Venture Investment VP, Dong-Su Kim, sits on its 5-person board together with Faye Pairman, Garth Gibson, and two Mohr Davidow Ventures people – Managing Partners Jonathan Feiber and Nancy Schoendorf.

The firm says its "systems are optimized for highly demanding big data workloads in design and discovery, including bioscience, energy, finance, government, manufacturing, and other core research and development sectors."

El Reg would guess that growth has perhaps been insufficient and a new strategy is being developed, possibly with new funding being considered. ®

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