New start at Coho Data

I’m excited to tell everyone that starting next week I’m joining the Coho Data team as their Technical Product Manager.

Up until now, working as a Technical Architect but being so involved in blogging, authoring a few books, speaking at conferences, and generally communitizing the community; I’ve often been asked if (actually, usually when) I’d be jumping ship and working for a vendor. The fact is I’ve enjoyed being a Technical Architect with all its associated technical and business challenges. But I also recognize the need to grow, to engage less flexed abilities, and to innovate in a meaningful way. I’m a big believer in moving away from your comfort zone and scaring yourself once in a while.

So why Coho Data? Fatalistic beliefs aside (see the footnote tale), the decision to join Coho Data came down to a couple of key things.

The right product

First, from what I’ve already been able to garner (and it’s early days on my technical discovery), I can already tell that Coho has a remarkable product on offer.


  • Incredibly fast back-end storage (all writes go straight to PCIe flash – that’s screamin’ supersonic disks via honking wide bus connections)
  • Super efficient data throughput (a data hypervisor, that just like a Virtual Machine Monitor avoids interfering with the IO path)
  • Built for the latest advanced hardware (and ready to take advantage of tomorrow’s hardware)
  • Scales out to cloud proportions with linear performance gains for each new node (i.e. scales-out properly)
  • A clean, gorgeous looking, piece-of-cake management UI
  • Is overflowing with Software Definededness (SDN, SDS, …)
  • Bacon scented aromatherapy candles inside each unit (okay, I made that one up)
And I know I’m only scratching the surface. Honestly, this stuff is mind blowing and I can’t wait to dig deeper.
Mind = Blown
Mind = Blown

The right role

I know several friends who have taken their careers forward as local SEs (Sales Engineers), and others that have taken the Technical Marketing path. But Technical Product Management is a bit of a different step.  Here, the role involves understanding the potential markets, what those markets want to buy now and in the future, and ensuring that that’s the product you’re delivering. In my new role I’ll be working with the developers, helping them understand what Coho’s customers need so they can build the best possible storage solution.

Looking to clarify the responsibilities, one of the more useful précis I’ve found is the following diagram:

So the Technical Product Managers’ responsibilities predominately lie in the pink circle. Yep, I’m meant to be the preppy-looking, lipstick-wearing dude listening to the market’s voice.  And when I look the list: things like Requirements, Roadmaps, and Innovation, then I know that many of the skills I’ve been practicing as an Architect should map well to the new role.  I’m also very happy that it should keep me pretty technically focused in areas such as storage, networking, and virtualization, that I love learning about. It’s a lissome team at Coho, so I expect that I’ll be able to breakout on occasions and branch into other areas such as creating collateral (things like white papers) and helping to drive the product portfolio forward. I’m sure it will be all-hands-on-deck sometimes.


I’m very excited to be joining Coho Data. They are an incredible team with a fantastic future. The storage market is full of great technologies at the moment, but I genuinely think that once you dig into Coho’s product a little further you’ll agree they have something very special to offer.

Footnote: Causality

I had a spooky case of happenstance which led me to this job. Back in November I’d heard rumblings on the intertubes about a newly uncloaked storage company called Coho Data. So I attended their first public webinar. That evening I was sat in my local Starbucks enjoying a pleasing late night highly-caffeinated beverage, while surfing the information superhighway. I was trying to find out the gory details about what made this new mystery Coho box-of-tricks tick. 

The Starbucks wifi connection kept dropping, and while trying to reconnect for the umpteenth time, I noticed an SSID called “cohodata”. Hang-on. But that was the web site I was looking at. Not the network to join. My natural reaction was think that an undercover Starbucks employee had managed to spike my coffee with one too many espresso shots; it was probably time to lie down, breathe deeply into a paper bag and recover from my coffee-induced palpitations.  But I rubbed my weary eyes and confirmed that there really was a local wifi network with the same name as the URL I was trying to load. I was literally across the street from Coho’s engineering office. Weird. Who’d a thunk it. Coincidence or fate? And as I perused their portal, dispelling thoughts of clandestine Starbucks’ operations, a job listing took my fancy…

6 thoughts on “New start at Coho Data

  1. Congrats Forbes! I was one of those waiting for you to join a vendor 🙂 Flash based storage is a great avenue, and being local to you it was meant to be.

Leave a Reply