Engine Yard, one of the few remaining independent suppliers of platform-as-a-service, has appointed Beau Vrolyk as its new CEO. He replaces John Dillon, who was a party to the change and agreed it was time to give a new CEO an opportunity to build out Engine Yard.
Oracle made a strategic investment in the company last November, but it is unknown whether its influence had anything to do with the changeover. Amazon, Benchmark Capital, and New Enterprise Associates also have invested in the company. Vrolyk is well known in technology investment circles and personally knows several of Engine Yard's investors, he said.
Vrolyk is the principal of Vrolyk Ventures, a firm in which he served as the sole angel investor, picking one technology company to back each year. He's been performing that role since January 2007. That followed a successful five-year stint as a managing partner of Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm that invested in such companies as BEA Systems and Veritas.
When approached by Engine Yard to become its CEO, Vrolyk said he sat down with his wife, who pointed out that he had "seemed happiest when running a small company," Vrolyk said in an interview. He is a previous CEO of TogetherSoft Corp. and 3ware Inc. He has also served as senior VP of the product group at Silicon Graphics Inc., with responsibility for sales, engineering, and product development for $4 billion of its business. It was the No. 2 position in the company, he said. He is also the former head of Xerox's Fax and multi-function printers division.
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Vrolyk has 35 years' experience managing or investing in early-stage companies or Fortune 500 hardware and software companies. "We are delighted to have him as we continue to execute against our core strategy," said Jim Burleigh, Engine Yard COO.
Engine Yard's core strategy is to offer a Ruby and PHP development platform in the Amazon Web Services cloud. The 110-employee company is one of the most successful at doing so, in addition to Heroku, which was purchased by Salesforce.com for $212 million at the end of 2011. CenturyLink bought another independent PaaS supplier, AppFog, for an undisclosed amount in June.
All PaaS suppliers must compete with Cloud Foundry, an open-source project with wide industry backing and its own independent foundation, as well as venerable open-source advocate Red Hat, with its OpenShift platform.
Vrolyk said he has been in the job for only a week and is still familiarizing himself with the company and its assets. But he said he expects Engine Yard will remain an independent platform where Ruby and PHP developers can build applications and run them on AWS's EC2 or the cloud service of their choice.
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