2015 - Dov Moran, Amir Ban, and Simon Litsyn

Dov Moran, Amir Ban, and Simon Litsyn

The innovations of Dov Moran, Amir Ban, and Simon Litsyn, while working at M-Systems, drove the creation of the USB flash drive, the world’s most popular portable memory device. Mr. Moran founded M-Systems in 1989 to create storage systems utilizing the advantages of rewritable flash memory technology. Dr. Ban introduced dynamic mapping techniques for organizing storage on flash memory, allowing the computer to use the flash memory as a disk drive. Prof. Litsyn introduced signal processing techniques that provided increased memory density to significantly reduce the cost of flash memory devices. The original USB flash drive, called DiskOnKey, was introduced by M-Systems in 2000 and quickly replaced the floppy disk for storing and transferring data. M-Systems was acquired by SanDisk in 2006.

Mr. Moran is the founder and Chairman of Comigo, Yarkona, Israel, among other companies. Dr. Ban is vice president of business development and chief technology officer with Eyessessment, Ramat Hasharon, Israel. An IEEE Senior member, Prof. Litsyn is a professor with the School of Electrical Engineering, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.

2014 - John K. Ousterhout And Mendel Rosenblum

John K. Ousterhout And Mendel Rosenblum

John K. Ousterhout and Mendel Rosenblum introduced a radically different approach to file system design with their log-structured file system (LFS), first presented in 1992. LFS treats disks more like a tape drives, appending all new data sequentially rather than making random accesses. This improved write speed as much as 10x by avoiding expensive disk-head movement, and also enabled faster recovery from computer crashes. The duo’s work has influenced storage systems at all levels, from remapping layers on magnetic disks to flash translation layers to large-scale datacenter storage systems.

Drs. Ousterhout and Rosenblum are both IEEE members and professors at Stanford University, CA, USA.

2013 - Michael L. Kazar

Michael L. Kazar

With ideas considered ahead of their time over 20 years ago, Michael L. Kazar has had a lasting influence on network file system architectures. Dr. Kazar was a co-creator of the Andrew File System (AFS) developed in 1988, which has impacted subsequent file system and data storage technology. AFS used a set of trusted servers to present a homogeneous, location-transparent file name space to all client workstations, much like today’s cloud storage technology. At startup company Spinnaker Networks, Dr. Kazar led the creation of a clustered storage system called SpinFS that incorporated many of the ideas of AFS. The system allowed customers to use off-the-shelf storage access protocols without modifying client operating systems. When Spinnaker was acquired by NetApp in 2004, Dr. Kazar’s SpinFS became the basis for the Ontap/GX product for high-performance/high-capacity storage systems and a forerunner to cloud storage systems.

Dr. Kazar is chief technology officer at Avere Systems, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

2012 - Naoya Takahashi

Photo of 2012 IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award recipient, Naoya Takahashi

Naoya Takahashi’s vision and leadership has directed Hitachi, Ltd., to the top of the data storage systems market and helped change the course of the industry. Dr. Takahashi believed that storage systems were more than just peripheral equipment attached to mainframes. He had the vision to break away from the norm and design an enterprise storage system, known as Starnet, capable of supporting multiple open systems and mainframe processors through separate ports on the same storage system. Dr. Takahashi led the development of a remote copying method that provides open systems with the same disaster recovery solutions previously only available on expensive mainframes. He was instrumental in Hitachi’s development of the Lightning 9000 series of disk arrays featuring the Hi-Star crossbar architecture in 2000, which was important to newly emerging storage area networks. Dr. Takahashi also led the shift toward storage virtualization, enabling storage systems created by any company to be connected and operated as an integrated virtual single unit.

An IEEE Senior member, Dr. Takahashi is currently president and chief executive officer of Hitachi Systems, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.

2011 - Not Awarded

2010 - Moshe Yanai

Moshe Yanai

During the past 35 years, Moshe Yanai has developed innovative data storage solutions to overcome the gap between growing amounts of data and the mechanical limitations of disk drives. Considered by many to be the most influential leader in the data storage industry, Mr. Yanai’s architectures changed how companies store and use data. He developed and cultivated the Symmetrix storage array while at EMC Corp., Hopkinton, MA, in the late 1980s. Symmetrix allows multiple servers to connect to the same storage device using a small computer system interface (SCSI), and it enabled the large relational databases common to the business world today. In 2003, Mr. Yanai founded XIV, Ltd., and developed the first truly scalable grid storage system, providing a lower-cost, highly reliable and easy to manage storage solution. The system quickly became popular with major banks, Internet service providers and telecommunication companies. IBM Corp. acquired XIV and the grid system in December 2007.

An IEEE member, Mr. Yanai is currently an IBM Fellow at IBM Corp., Waltham, MA.

2009 - Marshall Kirk McKusick

photo of James McKusick

Marshall Kirk McKusick is best known for the design, architecture, and implementation of the 4.2 Berkeley Software Distribution (4.2BSD) Fast File System (FFS), which is still in wide use today in most variants of the UNIX operating system. Dr. McKusick introduced rotational optimization, multiple block sizes with fragments, cylinder clustering and optimized block location to improve performance, and his system enhanced reliability by replicating critical data structures and placing them strategically on the disk to make them resilient to failures. The FFS architecture emphasized all these attributes which enabled computers to handle parallel tasks and simultaneous users.

Dr. McKusick’s long-standing influence can be seen in his willingness to share and disseminate his research. He has made available production quality code through FreeBSD—a free operating system compatible with UNIX—and he has mentored and provided assistance to the next generation of file system developers and creators of other systems, such as Linux.

An IEEE member, Dr. McKusick is an independent consultant residing in Berkeley, CA. 

2008 - Alan Jay Smith

photo of Alan Jay Smith

During his 34-year professional career, Alan Jay Smith, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has established himself as an authority in the field of storage system performance evaluation through his work on algorithms for managing the placement, movement and caching of data in and between levels of the memory hierarchy. His work has improved the ability of input/output devices and storage and memory systems to better keep up with rapidly increasing processor and circuit speeds. His work has included studies of disk caching, file migration, device interconnect, block and file placement, performance analysis methodology, and workload analysis and survey papers; Smith has also provided consulting services to numerous corporations, organizations and law firms.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM, and the AAAS. He has received the IEEETC Best Paper Award, the Harry Goode Award of the IEEE Computer Society and the A. A. Michelson Award of the Computer Measurement Group.

2007 - David Hitz and James Lau


David Hitz and James Lau’s significant contributions to networked data storage have helped fuel the growth of the billion-dollar global data storage market. Based on the belief that data should be constantly moving, or “networked” to facilitate its management, Mr. Hitz and Mr. Lau devised the Write Anywhere File-System Layout (WAFL), which has revolutionized storage as well as the sharing and protection of information assets throughout an organization. The WAFL-based network appliance, a dedicated, stackable network storage device, has changed the way information is stored at the enterprise level, supplanting general-purpose servers at many enterprise organizations. It is currently in use at an estimated 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

Mr. Hitz and Mr. Lau co-founded Network Appliance, Inc. in 1992, which has grown into a Fortune 1000 company with annual sales of nearly of $3 billion.

Mr. Hitz earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University. Mr. Lau holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Stanford University, CA.

2006 - Jaishankar Menon

photo of Jaishankar Menon

Dr. Jaishankar (Jai) M. Menon has been the driving force for advancing Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) storage systems as the high-performance, high-reliability solution for server-based computers. Currently vice president and chief technologist of storage systems architecture in the IBM Systems and Technology Group in San Jose, California, Dr. Menon has influenced the design of every IBM disk array product since the 1980s. His work propelled the transition from single large disks to RAID-based designs that allow for immediate data availability or the recovery of lost data, as well as for selected levels of data redundancy. He also created techniques for RAID arrays, including techniques to combine caching with RAID to significantly improve performance and the ability to add devices to an array while in use, thus hastening RAID’s adoption as the standard storage technology. In addition, he led the development of emulation of older mainframe devices and their protocols using cached RAID designs, improving storage reliability and lowering costs for the existing installed base. His leadership fostered the strong growth of RAID array storage products, which now support all forms of server-based computing and generate nearly $20 billion in annual revenues. Dr. Menon is responsible for major advances in storage networking and attaching logical storage devices to servers through networks, including technologies which reduce the need to exchange data between servers. This saved as much as 30 percent of server capacity. In addition, he instigated the IBM development of LAN-free and server-free backups that have dramatically improved data backup and restore times. 

Dr. Menon has authored 31 papers and 47 technical reports on RAID and storage systems, holds 50 U.S. patents for storage technology and has 11 additional applications with the U.S. Patent Office. He is a contributing author to three books on database and storage systems. An IEEE Fellow, he is the recipient of the W. Wallace McDowell Award of the IEEE Computer Society. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio State University in Columbus, both in Computers and Information Science.

2005 - Francois Dolivo

Dr. François Dolivo, manager of the Pervasive Computing Group at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, is recognized for his innovation and commitment in formulating and applying digital signal processing (DSP) methods to the magnetic recording channel in hard disk drives. His work has had a critical impact on this widely used technology. In 1974, Dr. Dolivo joined IBM Research Division's Zurich Research Laboratory in Reschlikon, Switzerland, where he applied DSP techniques to the magnetic recording channel in disk drives. Later, he headed the magnetic recording group that developed the partial-response signaling and maximum-likelihood sequence (PRML) recording channel. The novel digital recording technique became the industry standard. Since 1996, Dr. Dolivo's work has focused on various technologies for supporting pervasive and mobile applications.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Dolivo is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. His other honors include the PC Magazine Award for Technical Excellence and an IEEE Third Millennium Medal.

2004 - Bruce A. Gurney and Virgil S. Speriosu

Dr. Virgil S. Speriosu and Dr. Bruce A. Gurney collaborated on the development of the spin valve while at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. A practical giant-magnetoresistive (GMR) readback sensor, the spin valve has phenomenally extended the capacity and performance of disk drives. Since its commercial introduction in a hard drive in 1997, it has displaced all other detection systems for high-density magnetic disk storage, and related technology is used in all disk drives manufactured today. The resulting increases in data storage capacity have been essential to the establishment and growth of the Internet.

Dr. Speriosu joined IBM's Almaden Research Center in 1984. He was named manager of magnetic thin films in 1989, and manager of thin films for recording heads in 1994. He contributed to the study of ferromagnetic phenomena at numerous institutions around the world. In 1997, he became vice president of wafer development at Applied Magnetics Corporation in Goleta, CA, where he worked until his retirement 1999. An IEEE member, his awards include the International Union of Materials Research Societies Award for New Materials and the IBM Corporation Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. The author or co-author of more than 65 publications, he holds 21 patents on spin valve devices.

Dr. Gurney worked at IBM's Almaden Research Center from 1987 to 2002, serving as staff engineer/scientist, advisory engineer/scientist for the storage systems product division, research staff member and finally manager of the thin film magnetism group. An IEEE Member, he serves on the IEEE Magnetics Society Advisory Committee. A Fellow of the American Physical Society and recipient of the IBM Corporation Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, he has authored more than three-dozen papers on magnetic recording technologies and holds more than twenty-five patents. Dr. Gurney currently manages the recording head and nanostructure materials group at the San Jose Research Center of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. 

2003 - H. Neal Bertram

Neal Bertram has been a leader of the magnetic recording technology industry for more than 30 years. During his 17 years at the Ampex Corporation in Redwood City, Calif., his research focused on magnetic tape recording and led to significant understanding of both magnetic media and the recording process. Since joining the faculty at the University of California at San Diego in 1985 as an endowed chair professor at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research, he has directed research in both experimental and theoretical studies of both computer disk and tape storage. Dr. Bertram has developed courses in magnetic recording and magnetic materials and has written numerous papers discussing fundamental limits in magnetic recording. His book, Theory of Magnetic Recording, is required reading for graduate students at a number of research universities.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Bertram's honors include the 1999 Annual Technical Achievement Award from the National Storage Industry Consortium.

2002 - Christopher H. Bajorek

Dr. Christopher H. Bajorek has been a major contributor and a leader in the prototyping, development, manufacturing and application of magnetoresistive recording heads in the data storage industry. At IBM, he was an integral part of the team that pioneered MR heads for consumer-transaction readers, tape drives and disk drives. He also led IBM’s Advanced Packaging Technology Laboratory and Magnetic Recording Institute.

An IEEE Fellow, he has contributed to more than 20 patents and 50 publications in the fields of semiconductors, electronic packaging and data recording. He also has served as director of the International Disk Drive Equipment & Materials Association. Dr. Bajorek is executive vice president of Advanced Technology of Komag, Inc., San Jose, CA.