HP Exec Bolts for EMC

Deja vu all over again! HP storage software VP Mark Sorenson is headed to Hopkinton

July 16, 2003

3 Min Read
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EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is once again raiding the executive ranks of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ): Mark Sorenson, previously VP of the software group in HP's Network Storage Solutions division, is heading to Hopkinton, Byte and Switch has learned.

The move comes almost exactly one year after Mark Lewis left HP, where he was VP of marketing for storage, to become EMC's CTO and executive VP of new ventures. Two months ago, Lewis was put in charge of the company's Open Software division, replacing Erez Ofer, who observers say was a rather rigid member of EMC's old guard (see Lewis Quits HP for EMC, Lewis Joins EMC as CTO, and EMC Sics Lewis on Software).

At EMC, Sorenson will work with Lewis in the Open Software group, according to industry sources. Sorenson could not be reached for comment. A message sent to his HP email address returned this automated reply: "Mark Sorenson has resigned from HP effective Tuesday, July 8, 2003."

EMC spokesman Dave Farmer confirmed that Sorenson has joined the company, but wouldn't provide details about what his role will be. "We're going to make an announcement on that shortly," he says.

Could there be a connection between Sorenson's jumping ship and EMC's $1.3 billion planned acquisition of data management vendor Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO)? That deal was announced -- coincidentally? -- on July 8 (see EMC Gobbles Legato).In any case, EMC is clearly trying to round out the talent on its storage software squad. Sorenson has been very visible in the industry: While at HP, he negotiated API swaps with EMC, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), with the goal of allowing HP's software to manage those vendors' storage systems and vice versa (see HP Makes API Triple Play).

He also was key in advancing HP's storage virtualization strategy, encompassing elements of HP's and Compaq's previous developments in this area. In addition, he initiated work with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to allow HP's virtualization software to run in conjunction with their application-aware switch platforms. It's worth noting that EMC executives have said they also expect to port pieces of the company's storage infrastructure software to the Brocade and Cisco platforms (see V-Switch Alliances Take Shape, EMC, Cisco Do the Deed, HP Opens Doors to CASA, Brocade Loads Code, Signs EMC, and HP Picks Rhapsody).

HP has named Frank Harbist as VP of the storage software division to replace Sorenson. Previously, Harbist was VP of HP's nearline storage unit, which includes tape drives, libraries, and optical jukeboxes. [Ed. note: We're taking bets on how soon he jumps to EMC!] He reports to Bob Schultz, VP of HP's Network Storage Solutions (see HP Fuses Server, Storage Units and our interview with Schultz). Replacing Harbist is Bob Wilson, previously director for the automation business segment in the nearline storage division.

With the latest changes, HP is also shifting around some responsibility in its storage organization. SAN infrastructure -- which includes HP's relationships with Fibre Channel switch and host bus adapter suppliers -- will now be under Harbist's aegis in the storage software group. Roger Archibald, who was previously handling SAN infrastructure, will continue to be VP of HP's NAS unit.

Todd Spangler, US Editor, Byte and Switch

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