Do not waste a minute— not a second— in trying to demonstrate to others the merits of your performance. If your work does not vindicate itself, you cannot vindicate it.
Thomas W. Higginson
What I do
Not really sure what to say here, other than I am a technologist of sorts. What I mean is that I do take a great deal of pleasure in creating the “next” new thing. But I also love creating the company and having the vision for it as well. To me, I get annoyed by technology that has no home. I have never understood it and hope I never do. Over the years I have started and sold several high-tech companies.
What I’ve done
I’ve done quite a bit over the years. I started off in the storage industry when I was just a teenager. I learned from my father how to design boards and to troubleshoot all sorts of electronics. It’s one of the curses of growing up in the industry and learning from a dad who was a jack of all trades.
Over the years I’ve had to design my own controller boards, do my own mechanical work and then write my own software. Believe it or not, I had my first electronics company when I was in the 4th grade. Feel free to ask me more about this if you’d like.
After high school, I entered the Navy’s Nuclear Power program where I learned a lot about fluid dynamics, electrical theory as well as a lot of useful information on material science and chemistry. I am the first and only Nuke to complete both Machinists and Electronics Tech schools. While I was on active duty, I was awarded a scholarship to attend any school in the nation. It was a great deal, but I only had 30 days to get accepted or I’d lose the scholarship. Turns out Jacksonville University got a listing of the scholarship recipients and sought me out. I decided to study Math and Physics there and had the benefit of studying under one of the top professors in the field of Optics.
After graduating from JU and leaving the Navy, I secured my first job as a full-time mechanical engineer. Despite the fact I had never taken a CAD course, I was a quick study. I had 6 months to complete my first tooling design for a company called MiniStor Peripherals. I completed the tooling design for a 1.8″ hard drive in less than 45 days. And because I was dealing with vertical heights that were very small, I had to use some of the metallurgy I learned in the Navy to deal with the thinness of materials and the need for good elasticity and hardness. I then used this design to produce a scalable tooling that could span from 1.8″ to 5.25″ media. I guess you could say I was done for a while. I came up with methods for dealing with hysteresis when Magneto Resistive heads were introduced by IBM and I even had to deal with the nuances introduced by Maxtor’s counter rotating designs.
After my time designing hard drive test equipment, I turned my hand to RAID (redundant array of independent disks), where I helped usher in the use of external RAID controllers for building large clustered systems. I also helped to pioneer the world of Storage Management software and eventually introduced concepts of distributed object models, precursors to today’s CIMOM (common information model object manager).
These days, everyone is interested in SSDs and cacheing technology. I created my first cacheing driver in 2007 when I needed a cheap way to speed up my storage systems. I was only getting approximately 450MB/sec out of my RAID6 and I knew I needed over a 1GB/sec. Back then, SSDs cost more than $40/GB, which was too much for me. And while 15K RPM SAS drives were marginally faster than SATA drives, their use exceeded my budget. So, I came up with the idea of creating a stripe across the outer tracks of all my drives and then I created a WB cache between the RAID6 and the RAID0. The end-result of my experiment was achieving 1.2GB/sec.
So, while the world thinks this is all new technology, they’re still a bit behind the times.
Off to the next new thing!