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By | Paul Kunert 21st January 2015 16:03

Pure Storage confirms EMEA veep Rose has left the building

CEO Dietzen talks up flash, his EMC hire and plans for IPO

It is a strange world when the EMEA* organisation of a business boasts about meteoric growth and then parts with the boss of that region – but this is exactly what Pure Storage has done.

The flash storage business has waved bye-bye to industry vet Steven Rose, who less than a year ago joined as veep and is now looking for his next role.

Talking to The Channel, Pure CEO Scott Dietzen confirmed the departure of his former general, who has been replaced by James Petter, the now-ex UK MD at bitter rival EMC.

“It was a mutual decision to part ways,” said the exec. “Certainly our EMEA operations fared well under his tenure.” He added, “We wish him all the best and from there we should talk about how excited we are to have James on board.”

Rose is no stranger to the storage industry and held very senior positions at Veritas, CommVault Systems, Informatica and Violin Memory.

Pure set up operations in Europe back in the first quarter of 2013, and to date has grown sales 300 per cent, recruited 150 channel partners including some of the biggest names and has grown its customer base in the region by 250 per cent.

As a private company, Pure does not report on actual sales or profits, or customer numbers, so it is difficult to substantiate how large the firm is or what role was played by which exec to get it there.

Dietzen said Petter – whom EMC refused to discuss yesterday – was the “first choice of multiple candidates that we looked to take on this challenge and opportunity”.

“We are continuing to try to attract the very best folks to the Pure cause, ones that want to change the way storage is done. We believe the storage buyer has got a raw deal.”

According to our estimates, Pure is one of the most expensive players out there in terms of the price of raw GB per storage. But we are told, by the CEO, that this is not the best metric to use.

“We tend to be competitive on that price metric but where we excel is in dollars per GB usable, that ultimately is a much better measure of customer value because that reflects how much data you can store on the device.”

In this respect, he reckons Pure flash comes in below “not just other flash arrays but below tier one disk arrays.

“We are the only vendor to advertise our average data reduction across our entire fleet, we are talking thousands of arrays, and we are rolling up an average of close to 6:1 data reduction. We don’t believe any of our competitors have managed to reach anywhere near that effectiveness, if they have they are keeping it secret.”

Petter will be charged with expanding the company’s footprint in EMEA beyond the twelve countries Pure operates in today to grab a larger slice of the $60bn total available market for flash.

The organisation Petter is stepping into is valued at around $3bn, based on the most recent round of funding a little under year ago, said Dietzen, who is gearing up to float on the US stock market.

“The directive from the board is to continue to make sure we get the company ready to be a public company, you generally don’t talk about specific timelines until you are ready.”

A further element slotted into place last autumn when Pure recruited its first ever CFO: Tim Riitters, a former Google exec previously in charge of financial planning and analysis.

So perhaps future share options were among the package that tempted Petter to quit the largest tech storage business on the planet and join a relative upstart, seemingly destined for big things.

Rose has not replied to requests for comment and appears to have removed his profile from LinkedIn. ®

*Europe, Middle East and Africa (sales region)

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