Joyent Cloud Co-Founder Steps Down

CTO Jason Hoffman, the medical doctor turned cloud builder, is leaving Joyent but won't say what he'll do next.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

September 10, 2013

2 Min Read

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Jason Hoffman, who co-founded the only cloud that runs SmartOS, an open source version of Solaris, is stepping down at Joyent after 10 years as CTO.

In a blog posted Monday evening entitled "The Next Chapter", he wrote: "I've loved the process of building Joyent into what it is today, as any respectable founder wishes, you look for people better than yourself who can go execute and you let them do that. The company is in great shape, with a brilliant management team and a change-the-world technology vision in very capable hands with Bryan Cantrill."

Cantrill is senior VP of engineering at Joyent and a former Sun Microsystems engineer. He authored the Dtrace analytics probe for Sun Microsystem storage appliances, which was later adapted for use in Solaris. SmartOS at Joyent also uses Dtrace to insure reliable uptime and performance in its cloud servers. Cantrill was a winner of The Wall Street Journal's top Technology Innovation award in 2006.

"Although my departure is undoubtedly bittersweet, the company is in a phenomenal place right now," Hoffman said. Hoffman termed the whole management team "brilliant," without mentioning executives other than Cantrill. He also wrote: "As an advisor, I will stay closely connected to Joyent."

[ Want more on how Hoffman steered Joyent to success? Read Joyent Matches Amazon Cloud Infrastructure Prices. ]

Hoffman once disclosed that he built his first large-scale computing cluster after quitting his job as a pathologist to research a possible cure for his mother, who was suffering with breast cancer. He found that existing clusters used in medical research had too many choke points to be used effectively. The result was an architecture for Joyent.

Hoffman was an unapologetic advocate of cloud computing. Several years ago, in answer to a question from the audience at a discussion in San Francisco, he said, "I think I'm a better builder of infrastructure than you are."

In his farewell blog, he noted that the "'think differently' spirit of innovation is built into our DNA, and we've accomplished many amazing things living by it. It's also something I value, and for that reason, I've made the decision to embody it in a new way by moving on to pursue new ideas and projects. I've loved the process of building Joyent into what it is today," he wrote.

He didn't respond to an InformationWeek query on what that new endeavor will be.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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