McData Names New CEO

McData's future CEO John Kelley speaks out on what the change will mean for customers.

Storage switcher McData Corp. will promote President and COO John Kelley, known as a turn-around specialist, to the CEO post this summer.

The move will happen in August at the Broomfield, Colo. companys annual board of directors and shareholder meetings, Kelley said in an interview today. Jack McDonnell, the current chairman and CEO, will retain his position as chairman, officials said.

For customers, the change means that McData will concentrate more on interoperability, said Kelley, a former electrical engineering student and collegiate baseball player, who joined McData 10 months ago after serving as executive vice president of Qwest Communications International Inc.

"I have perceived skills in bringing companies out of trouble," though McDatas just number two in their niche, not actually in trouble, Kelley noted. "I believe that were going to have to push much more strongly in open interoperability components," just as the enterprise networking industry did a decade ago, he said. "Interoperability with Brocade will be mandated by customers."

Other areas where McData needs to improve are tape-switching technologies, infrastructure management, and industry awareness of the companys programming interfaces, Kelley said. "We need to have a deliverable thatll have real benefits to customers, not just technological whiz-bang," he said.

Arch-rival Brocade Communications Systems Inc. "looks like Novell to me," Kelley said, referring to Provo, Utah-based Novell Inc.s early-1990s success in the networking business. Novell declared victory versus then-newcomer Cisco Systems Inc., but ultimately lost the battle, he noted.

Greg Reyes, chairman and CEO of Brocade, in San Jose, Calif., has also made the Novell analogy, but has said hes learned from that companys mistakes, even though Ciscos still a bigger concern than McData. Brocade has an overall 63 percent market share, according to Gartner Inc., but McData is dominant in the high-availability category, known as directors. The companies are currently suing each other over alleged patent infringements and have different long-term product roadmaps, despite their similarities.

Related Stories:

  • Storage Switching Alliances Form
  • More Storage Coverage