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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Indian-born 'storage guru' pushes tech for masses

Imran Qureshi (Indo-Asian News Service), PTI  Bangalore, January 23, 2003
First Published: 12:18 IST(23/1/2003) | Last Updated: 15:44 IST(23/1/2003)

Indian-born Kumar Malavalli, who has been inducted into high-profile Silicon Valley Hall of Fame, wants to take his computer storage technology to the masses and help small entrepreneurs manage their business better.

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"The concept (of computer storage) is still not well understood," said Malavalli, who has become the first Indian to enter Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.

"I can only be a catalyst, act as a glue to bring together vendors and users to develop newer technologies cost effectively," Malavalli told IANS on the sidelines of a seminar on global storage networking here.

Malavalli, co-founder of computer storage solutions provider Brocade Communications, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on February 21 for his contribution to technology, industry, business and social commitment.

The modest engineer from Mysore's National institute of Engineering joins some of the big names such as founders of Hewlett-Packard (HP) William Hewlett and David Packard, and President of Stanford University, John Hennessy.

The Hall of Fame celebrates accomplishments of engineers in the Silicon Valley who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and made significant contributions to the community.

Malavalli came to be known as the "Fibre Prince" and "Storage Guru" after the shares of Brocade Communications showed tremendous growth when others in the technology space were looking southwards.

"I was just one of them. It is a testimony for perseverance and success of the entire team," he says.

"I never aspired to get into the Hall of Fame or anywhere else. It just happened though I feel honoured, definitely. I was part of the concept and part of the industry."

Analysts say a big opportunity is emerging for computer storage solutions providers   as companies worldwide find it difficult to safely and efficiently manage vast amounts of data.

The importance of storage has become important in the wake of rapidly increasing volume of critical information in the business sector.

"We looked at the data generation and management and we knew that there would be an onslaught with the advent of the Internet. The model that existed was not going to meet demand," said Malavalli.

Malavalli, who hails from Malavalli in Karnataka's Mandya district and left India for the US two decades back, is credited with the development of storage area networking (SAN).

"Basically, he de-coupled storage from a server and made it into a common resource so that multiple servers could access them," says Sridhar Mitta, former head of Wipro's global research and development centre.

"It is like getting power from the hydel project instead of producing it in house for your personal use."

Said Brenda Christensen, director, Brocade Communications: "His is original contribution that has had a lasting impact on technology. And, the influence of that technology on industry is tremendous and, it is not just on Silicon Valley.

"But, engineering is the gate into the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame also looks closely at service to industry and, more importantly, community.

"It was his philanthropy to the girl guides programme that forced the administration in Santa Clara to introduce science as a subject in elementary school."


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