Chris Lynch would seem to have all the answers when it comes to scaling a moderately successful, but somewhat early stage company to achieve its desired outcomes. Just look at his previous gigs: most recently he was a General Partner at VC firm Accomplice, but when it comes to executive roles, the history tells the story. Lynch was CEO and Chairman of Vertica, the analytics company that was acquired by HP back in 2010 for about $350 million. For those who wondered, Vertica was the good HP acquisition and the first by then fresh CEO Leo Apotheker. That was before Apotheker went on to make the most disastrous acquisition ever, that of Autonomy, the company with an allegedly fictional revenue record.

Anyway, as for Lynch, before Vertica he ran and eventually sold ArrowPoint Communications to Cisco for $5.7bn in 2000, after which he backed that one up when he sold file virtualizer Acopia to F5 in 2007 for $210m.

When Lynch left HP a year after the Vertica deal, many thought he’d enjoy his gazillions and keep clear of executive roles in eh future. It seems that prognostication was wrong with the news today that Lynch has signed up as CEO and Executive Chairman at AtScale

Who is AtScale?

AtScale describes itself in ways that are a marketers wet dream (well, that is to say, a marketer who specializes in the usage of buzzwords). According to their own material, sadly not proofed for hyperbole, AtScale:

AtScale is the industry leader in data federation and cloud transformation, enabling enterprises to modernize application architectures and accelerate business intelligence, A.I. and Machine Learning initiatives. By eliminating data location constraints, AtScale accelerates enterprise multi-platform and multi-cloud adoption with greater agility, performance and security — all without disrupting the business.

One assumes they do all that with healthy extra lashings of unicorns and rainbows.

Now in plain English, please

AtScale is in the business of data analysis. It provides a bridge between everyday business users and the open source Hadoop data platform. Instead of an organization needing both technology and data science skills in order to use Hadoop, AtScale fulfills all the “plumbing” aspects of making Hadoop work – directly connecting MapR data to business users without the need for ETL or data movement operations. Those business users can leverage whatever tool they are au fait with, Tableau, Excel or Qlik etc., to query that data.

Because this stuff is – still – too hard

The life of a CIO is hard. Business users come clamoring for answers, while her IT department is getting squeezed about its budget. What’s an unsuspecting CIO to do? The rise of multi-cloud environments makes this need all the more pressing.

AtScale offers its own “Universal Semantic Layer” which abstracts information out of its various silos and lets that aforementioned CIO shift between on-premises, cloud and multi-cloud deployments for her data needs – all without impacting on the end users’ experience. By normalizing usage across analytic tools and infrastructure platforms, AtScale continues and extends the flexibility of “multi everything” that organizations are increasingly looking for.

The requisite love fest

As is generally the case with new executive hires, all parties were quick to provide glowing quotes about each other. Ryan Floyd, from Storm Ventures, the VC fund that originally backed AtScale had this to say:

Chris is an extraordinary leader with the necessary experience to accelerate AtScale’s growth and continued success. With marquee customers around the globe, AtScale has proven the value of connecting all of an enterprise’s data, at unlimited scale, regardless of where it is stored.

As for his response, Lynch is also effusive saying that:

After meeting Dave Mariani (co-founder, AtScale), seeing the company’s ability to federate what are traditionally “islands of information” and seamlessly enable cloud transformation, I couldn’t wait to get involved. AtScale’s technology is delivering tremendous flexibility and business value to enterprises as they shift towards multi-platform and multi-cloud deployments, providing a single application interface to alleviate all of the complexity.


Lynch is clearly someone who can execute upon an opportunity. He’s done it before multiple times and, despite readers being forgiven for wondering where his motivation to do it all again comes from (it can’t be money, right?) he is very much a known quantity and a safe pair of hands to help deliver the outcome that AtScale’s investors are looking for.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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