Teen CEO launches storage startup; catches Facebook's eye

By Colin Neagle, Network World |  Storage, Facebook, startups

The potential benefits are no doubt attractive to a social networking site that now boasts more than 1 billion active users and, following a rough IPO, has to appease public demand for profits. Mayhall says the talks with Facebook are still ongoing, and that the potential of a company acquisition coupled with a job for Mayhall has been discussed.

Mayhall, however, seems more interested in a licensing agreement than anything else. However exciting a buyout may be - Mayhall contends that a discussion with Facebook is an opportunity he couldn't pass up - the young CEO remains an idealist and a believer in the company that he formed as an adolescent. He frequently talks about building Evtron into a major corporation, and aspires to do so through the efforts of his team alone.

"Overall, I believe our goal is we want to grow this thing to be an EMC or NetApp. We don't really want to do that by being acquired," Mayhall says. "Maybe potentially licensing some of the technology to a Facebook or a Google or someone to continue bringing in funds so we can continue innovating and building the company as a whole. But I don't believe that it's in our sights right now to be acquired just quite yet."

The attachment comes natural to Mayhall given how Evtron was created. Launching a startup was never the initial objective, he says; Mayhall was simply exploring the possibilities of a low-power platform out of his passion for hardware.

"We didn't really think that we could turn this thing into a company until one day we realized that the numbers we were generating off the efficiency increases and performance increases were substantial enough to justify that 'hey, maybe we should go and get this thing patented and maybe we should go and turn this thing into a company,'" Mayhall says.

As Mayhall continued to see progress, development of what would eventually become the Cell platform became a personal challenge. One of the first prototypes fit 55 hard drives into four units. Not satisfied with those figures, Mayhall redesigned it so he could fit 66 hard drives in four units, and shortly thereafter extended it to 88 hard drives. This continued until Mayhall fit 128 hard drives in four units, which Evtron would have to cut down to 120 so its product could meet industry standards.

"The goal was to make an efficient server, and I wanted to see how far we could take it," Mayhall says. "It just so happens that we did it better than anyone else could have."


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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