January 25, 2021

Father Of NetApp’s FlashRay Pawlowski Switched To Pure Storage

Brian Pawlowski, who is the father of NetApp’s FlashRay, this month left NetApp for what he termed “A New Venture” on his LinkedIn profile, is now at Pure Storage, a key competitor to NetApp and other legacy storage vendors who are also developing all-flash storage arrays.


Pawlowski has spent nearly three years as senior vice president and technical staff member at NetApp, and was the leader of the project to develop FlashRay. That project was characterized as a “Skunk Works” project using facilities outside the NetApp campus until NetApp first announced its FlashRay plans in March 2013.NetApp in September released FlashRay, its first storage solution built from the ground up as an all-flash storage array. Release of the NetApp FlashRay and its new Mars storage operating system had been expected for late 2013 or early 2014.However, the first version of FlashRay missed many of the capabilities needed in an all-flash storage array. Pawlowski mentioned that NetApp planned to include data snapshot capabilities and a high-availability architecture in the near future, along with auto-tiering as a way to move older data onto less expensive storage media.

Pawlowski was key to creating NetApp’s corporate culture, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and channel partner to both companies. “People loved working with him,” Woodall stated. “He’s bright, and passionate about what he does. He’s as much of that company’s foundation and success as anyone there. It’s a loss for NetApp, and a huge coup for Pure.”