|The Leading Source for Global News and Information Covering the Ecosystem of High Productivity Computing / April 3, 2007|
Linux Networx announced that they have appointed Jack Kenney as their new CEO. Kenney, an industry veteran, served as Chairman and CEO of Everex Systems, UniSil Corporation, and Quantegy, Inc. He has also held executive management positions with Memorex, Scientific Micro Systems, DEC and Honeywell, and has held board positions at a number of companies, including Streamlogic Corporation.
The former CEO, Robert "Bo" Ewald, will remain involved with the company as a member of the board. Before coming to Linux Networx, Ewald was at Cray Research, Inc., where he served in several positions, including president and COO. While at Cray, the company quadrupled in size from about $200 million to over $900 million. Ewald also served as executive vice president and COO for Silicon Graphics (SGI) at a time when the company had revenues of about $3.5 billion. Ewald began his management career at Los Alamos National Laboratory as the head of its Computing and Communications Division.
According to Ewald, the CEO switch came about as part of Linux Networx' continuing strategy to standardize their product line and focus more on customers in industrial and government production environments. When Ewald took over as CEO of Linux Networx in 2005, every machine the company built was a custom system. Ewald arrived at Linux Networx shortly after Oak Investment Partners had invested $40 million in it. That marked the beginning of the shift from custom systems to standardized products and professional services.
Today the company has a range of standard compute platforms including their high-end supersystems (LS-1), application-tuned platforms (LS-P) and visualization systems (LS-V), as well as storage systems and standard software stacks. They've also added professional services to provide additional differentiation from other HPC cluster vendors.
At this point, Linux Networx still does the system design, but the hardware manufacturing and assembly is outsourced to a contract manufacturer (some sources have suggested this manufacturer is actually Dell). The shift from manufacturer to system integrator has allowed Linux Networx to compete effectively in the cutthroat HPC cluster market, where system design and software integration define the value of the products.
Ewald said he thinks Linux Networx has achieved the goals that they set out to do when he came onboard almost two years ago. "I felt that the company was in a good position for it to move on -- as well as myself," said Ewald. "It was my decision, totally."