Micron's new storage division lead is third former SanDisk recruit

Anand Jayapalan replaces Darren Thomas

Micron has replaced its storage business unit VP, Darren Thomas, with a former SanDisk exec, Anand Jayapalan.

Micron's recently appointed CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, who arrived in April, was SanDisk's CEO when it was acquired by Western Digital, staying on at WD for a time and then joining Micron to succeed Mark Durkan, who retired.

Mehrotra appointed former SanDisk SVP of corporate engineering Jeff VerHeul to be SVP of Non-Volatile Engineering in June.

Sumit Sadana was hired as EVP and chief business officer also in June and he is a SanDisk alumnus too, having been EVP, chief strategy officer and general manager for Enterprise Solutions. Now Jayapalan makes three ex-SanDisk hires by Mehrotra.

Jayapalan was SanDisk's VP marketing for Enterprise Storage Solutions, joining in 2013 from Blackberry. At Micron his remit is leading and growing Micron's solid-state storage business, and addressing opportunities in large market segments like cloud, enterprise and client compute. He reports to Sadana.

Micron's announcement makes no mention of Darren Thomas, who joined to run the storage unit in 2014.

Does the Jayapalan hiring signal a new direction for Micron's storage division? Mehrotra is selling off all or part of the Lexar consumer products unit at Micron. The storage business unit has a deal with Excelero to use its NVMesh software with its SolidScale flash arrays and has invested in that startup.

What has piqued our curiosity for severtal months is Micron's relative quietness and slowness in bringing its QuantX 3D XPoint products to market; a strong contrast with Intel, which is pushing ahead with Optane-branded 3D XPoint gear. Micron and Intel jointly developed 3D XPoint, the faster-than-NAND but slower-than-DRAM solid-state non-volatile memory tech.

We should expect renewed vigour from Micron in developing and marketing enterprise SSD products, possibly featuring additional 3D layers and QLC (4bits/cell) technology as well as a QuantX push. Let's watch and wait to see what Mehrotra's men do next. ®

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