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.