Pillar Data aims to be a disruptive force in the storage world with its unique method of providing differentiated tiers of storage based on disk track position. It launched last year, funded with money from Tako Ventures, Larry Ellison's personal investment vehicle.

Like a shark Pillar has to keep moving forward. CEO Mike Workman wants to move to an IPO and build a great storage corporation. To do that he has to sell to customers and he has to recruit good staff to take the business from startup to a revenue earner.

Workman has recruited Geoff Brown, from Oracle of all places; there isn't a no trespassing sign for him on Oracle's front lawn. Brown is VP business development.

He's also recruited Brenda Zawatski from Sun's Data Management Group. She started on January 31st as senior VP world-wide sales and marketing. In that role she will have reporting to her:-

- Jeffrey Bell, VP of marketing,
- Adrian Jones, SVP World-wide sales,
- Geoff Brown.

Brenda Zawatski knows the enterprise storage world well. She was VP Information Lifecycle Management Solutions (ILMS) at Sun, and responsible for developing the ILMS segment. Prior to the Sun acquisition, she held a similar position at StorageTek as VP and GM for ILM. At Sun she was one of the three business unit leaders reporting to Sun DMG boss Mark Canepa. Sun will miss her expertise.

Prior to StorageTek she was VP Product and Solutions Marketing for Veritas. Before that she had a 20-year career at IBM where she was a VP at Tivoli Storage Software, VP Removable Media Storage Solutions and director of S/390 Enterprise Systems.

Brenda Zawatski knows how to market and sell ILM products to enterprises. Pillar is getting really serious about marketing and building a sales team. Sun now has to find another ILM VP and GM. Pillar's credibility has risen; Sun's has fallen a little.

Because of Pillar's unique technical foundation for ILM Zawatski will have an easier job distinguishing Pillar's view of ILM from EMC. StorageTek, Zawatski's old company, more or less invented and developed the ILM concept only to see arch predator EMC hijack it and become identified as the ILM company. It's hard to see how Sun can differentiate itself from EMC as an ILM supplier whereas Pillar has clear water between it and EMC.

As long as Pillar's kit performs and delivers the goods there's no reason to doubt that it could become a successful storage vendor. How it develops on from its initial product foundation will show us if it can become a great storage company.