Return of Woz! Apple co-founder back in tech game

6 Feb 2009

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The wonderful wizard that is Wozniak is back! Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple in the Seventies with his pal Steve Jobs, has returned to the technology industry – this time as chief scientist at solid state storage start-up Fusion-io.

Wozniak (pictured) – respected as one of the most intelligent people in the Silicon Valley technology industry – sold his Hewlett-Packard scientific calculator (and Jobs sold his Volkswagen van) to raise US$1,300 to get Apple started from Jobs’ garage in California.

It emerged last night that Wozniak – a legend because of his engineering talent and his creation of the first Macintosh computer – will take up a senior scientific position with Fusion-io http://www.fusionio.com/, which makes NAND Flash storage technology claimed to be the fastest in the world.

Wozniak will act as a key technical advisor to the Fusion-io R&D group. He will also work closely with the executive team of Fusion-io in formulating a company strategy that will accelerate the expansion of major global accounts. Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Inc, was the engineering force behind the launch of the home computer revolution.

“With the revolutionary technological advances being made by Fusion-io, the company is in the right place at the right time with the right technology, and ready to direct the history of technology into the 21st century and beyond,” said Wozniak.

“The technology marketplace has not seen such capacity for innovation and radical transformation since the mainframe computer was replaced by the home computer. Fusion-io’s technology is extremely useful to many different applications, and almost all of the world’s servers.”

 Prior to his appointment as chief scientist at Fusion-io, Wozniak was a member of the company’s advisory board, where he counselled the company on market trends, product road maps and other strategic activities. Wozniak will continue to advise the Fusion-io team on these vital issues.

 The company’s ioDrive is the first direct-attached, solid-state storage technology on a PCI-Express (PCIe), with I/O performance that surpasses that of mechanical disks by hundreds of times.

Building on this innovation, the company has recently announced two additional products: the ioSAN, which is the first networked enterprise SSD, and the ioXtreme, a consumer product based on the company’s ioMemory technology.

 By creating components that can drop into any off-the-shelf server, Fusion-io enables the enterprise to build a complete, high-performance storage area network (SAN) quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

With multi-terabytes of low-cost, tiered storage, including high-performance enterprise flash and high-speed enterprise networking, these easy-to-deploy-and-manage solutions facilitate migration away from proprietary SAN architecture to higher performing, more flexible, lower-cost storage solutions.

 Fusion-io’s technology was recently declared the ‘world’s fastest storage’ product by several reviewers, including independent new product-testing website TweakTown.com http://www.tweaktown.com/.

Independent lab testing through Finisar’s Medusa Labs has verified that the Fusion-io ioDrive can achieve more than 100,000 mixed transactions per second (IOPS). Fusion-io is currently working with IBM on its Project Quicksilver to easily achieve over 1,000,000 IOPS by presenting multiple ioDrives as a shared storage solution. The ioDrive is also the first solid-state storage device to receive IBM’s coveted ServerProven designation.

“Steve Wozniak has been among the most elite innovators of his age, and we are honoured by his enthusiasm for our technology and our company,” said Don Basile, CEO of Fusion-io.

“Steve’s inventions and insights have inspired generations of IT professionals, and we look forward to the influence he will have on the future direction of Fusion-io as we continue to transform the enterprise.”

By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com