Ionir exec chairman grips cloud-native company tighter, takes on CEO spot

Mike Wall, CEO, ionir

Less than a year after emerging from stealth, Kubernetes data-moving startup Ionir has a new CEO.

Ionir was created from the ashes of Reduxio and uses the latter’s Magellan data state capture technology in its software. Incumbent CEO and co-founder Jacob Cherian has moved into a newly-created Chief Product Officer role with exec chairman Mike Wall taking on the CEO responsibility. 

A Wall statement explained: “Kubernetes and containerisation together redefine cloud and IT infrastructure, freeing applications to run anywhere. However, the data gravity challenge must be overcome to ensure true application agility. Ionir is the only technology that addresses the data challenges of running Kubernetes at scale. This level of system-wide disruption creates gigantic market opportunity.”

Mike Wall, CEO, Ionir.

Wall was previously the CEO and chairman of object storage supplier Amplidata, which was bought by Western Digital’s Hitachi GST business unit in 2015.

In previous roles he was Atempo CEO before selling the company to ASG, and GM of Intel’s Storage Division. If we go by precedent then, Wall will grow Ionir’s business and sell the company.

Ionir says it is growing rapidly in North America — a claim backed up by investor Jerusalem Venture Partners general partner Fiona Darmon. The expansion is boosted by the launch of its Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline acceleration offering. This is the near-instant cloning of time-stamped data copies that can be used at any point in an application development cycle, thus accelerating it according to Ionir.

Call us insensitive for asking, but, if the company is doing so well, why does it need a new CEO?

Although it is relatively early days in the general enterprise adoption of Kubernetes-orchestrated containers, the size of the storage and data services opportunity is vast, with both startup and incumbent suppliers piling in to the market. Dell (Project Karavi), NetApp (Astra), HPE (Ezmeral), Pure Storage (Portworx), Red Hat, Suse Rancher and Veeam (Kasten)  are some of the mainstream suppliers involved while MayaData, and StorageOS are three of the startups.

Ionir has developed differentiated marketing but, like everyone else, is facing intense competition. Having the best technology for aspects of Kubernetes data services, as it says it has, may not be enough when marketing impetus, partnerships, and channel forces are added in to the business success mix. Time is of the essence here, as we are seeing a Kubernetes storage/data services land grab and all available niches will be staked out soon enough

Wall provided Amplidata with a good exit in the object storage market, and did well for Atempo in the data protection market. Atempo had its own Miria data-moving technology. Perhaps Wall thinks he can use his Amplidata and Atempo commercial experience to propel Ionir into a higher level of growth and gain ground compared to the other startups.

GigaOm positions Ionir as a non-enterprise Kubernetes storage supplier, and that may be something Wall will want to change. Ionir wants its share of the gigantic opportunity Wall is seeing, and he aims to make sure what Ionir wants Ionir gets.