Panasas overhauls leadership to target AI and HPC

Panasas has appointed new sales, alliances, operations, and engineering leaders as incoming CEO Ken Claffey sets out to grow the parallel file system supplier’s business.

Three of the four new hires come from Claffey’s old stomping ground, Seagate, and he is setting Panasas on course to supply systems to the HPC and AI markets. Claffey wants Panasas to show continued product innovation and go-to-market expansion.

He said: “Panasas is uniquely positioned to have a significant market impact as global enterprises seek modern HPC and AI storage solutions that make it easy to move, protect, and store data at scale to support their business objectives. Panasas is at an inflection point as the advent of AI is driving the increasing demand for truly scalable, high-performance storage solutions.”

The four new execs are:

  • Hanish Vaghela, EVP of Sales
  • Samantha Clarke, VP Channel and Alliances
  • Mike Park, VP Operations
  • Peter Maddocks, VP Engineering
Panasas execs Hanish Vaghela, Samantha Clarke, Mike Park, and Peter Maddocks
From left Hanish Vaghela, Samantha Clarke, Mike Park, and Peter Maddocks

Vaghela, Clarke, and Maddocks join from Seagate. There, Vaghela built the Clusterstor HPC storage go-to-market organization from the ground up. His most recent position at Seagate was overseeing global sales, sales engineering, and sales operations for the company’s systems and solutions business.

Clarke held sales, partner engagement, and business development leadership roles across device systems, Cloud, and SaaS at Seagate.

Maddocks was senior director of engineering in storage systems at Seagate. He previously spent over a decade at Hewlett-Packard.

Park has held leadership roles with Data Domain, EMC, Tintri, and Datrium, gaining skills in operations, supply chain management, and process automation.

We asked Panasas what’s happening to current EVP Global Sales Brett Costelow, also Mike Sheppard, current Global Director Channels and Alliances, Ren Del Carlo listed as VP Operations, and Jamal Ramahi, VP Engineering.

Panasas VP Product Strategy and Marketing Jeff Whittaker told us: “This is a major change in the Panasas executive leadership team. Our new CEO has made these decisions with the utmost consideration in a strategic shift to ensure that we not only execute our vision as a software-defined storage company, but also thrive in the ever-evolving AI and HPC market.

“He has handpicked individuals with proven track records in scaling business and organizations in the HPC and broader storage market, many of whom he has worked closely with in the past, and he is confident they will integrate seamlessly into Panasas. Other functional leaders will be staying on with the company, including myself in my role as Vice President of Product Strategy and Marketing.

“The change in our sales department is immediate, whereas the transformations within Operations and Engineering will be phased in gradually during the transition period. Jamal and Ren will remain with the company throughout this extended time, guaranteeing a smooth transition that safeguards our core operations.”


On the competition front, Panasas faces BeeGFS, DDN (Lustre), IBM (formerly GPFS, now Storage Scale), and VAST Data (NFS from a parallel data store). We expect Claffey has two main goals. Firstly, retain Panasas’ customer base and, secondly, gain new use cases and customers.

The big new market is AI, and we expect Panasas, among other things, will quickly support Nvidia’s GPU Direct protocol to rapidly transfer data to its GPUs. It may also revisit its decision not to port its PanFS software to the public cloud. If Panasas undertakes both actions, PanFS could facilitate data transfers to Nvidia GPU instances in the cloud.