Dan Lifshutz | May 13, 2019
Today is a pretty special day for myself and for Arraya. Twenty years ago, David Bakker and I founded the company that would become Arraya Solutions. Looking back on it, it’s amazing to think how much has changed since that day back in 1999. Professionally and personally, our lives are so much different now. Through it all, Arraya has been a constant. I honestly couldn’t be more proud that, after 20 years in the always-evolving, often chaotic world of IT, Arraya is still standing, still helping our customers solve problems and still growing!
Two decades ago, the most popular cell phone was the Nokia 3210. In fact, Nokia was the undisputed champion of the cell phone market. We were still eight years out from the first iPhone. Android? Try nine. Even though I liked my old cell phone, I didn’t foresee just how attached I’d become to its descendants. In 1999, artificial intelligence seemed more like science fiction rather than a technology able to impact our lives in very real ways. Plus, we’d only just begun to understand the revolutionary significance of the internet and the advances it would usher in.
During the early days of Arraya, David and I mainly focused on hardware and supporting data centers. However, the Arraya story actually starts a little earlier. I first met David in 1996 on the UNIX team at Pep Boys. I was assigned to train him and we hit it off right away, working side by side for about two years. After he moved on to new challenges, we both separately realized there was an opening in the market we could fill. Technology was only just starting to emerge as a way businesses could gain a competitive edge and we understood some companies were struggling to settle into that new world. David and I both felt that, given our technical experience, we could be of some assistance. That was the genesis of Arraya Solutions.
Some of my favorite moments in Arraya’s history
When David and I started out, we called ourselves D&D Consulting. Now, that early branding drew from our first initials and not a shared love of roleplaying games. Still, it inspired its share of jokes. Maybe unbelievably, it took David and I three years to think better of that particular decision and rebrand. After an exhaustive search, we eventually settled on the name that would come to define our upstart company: Arraya Solutions.
That rebrand was just one of many standout moments in this company’s history. Another one that was almost equally as important in defining Arraya, was partnering with VMware in 2004. I look at this as the unofficial beginning of our best-of-breed approach to crafting technology solutions for our customers. Another highlight was holding our first annual Tech Summit back in 2015. At the time, I didn’t realize just how important that event would become to our customers and our engineers. I’ve loved hearing attendees talk about the value they get from the Tech Summit and watching our engineers step up to the plate as instructors and knock it out of the park year after year. Also, I’d be remiss not to mention opening our second location in January as a highlight. It amazes me to think that this company that started in 1999 with just David and I now has two locations and well over a hundred employees.
As a company, Arraya has been fortunate enough to experience more highs than lows since David and I took our first meeting as D&D Consulting two decades ago. I won’t speak for David, but I believe the decision to go into business together is one of the best either of us has made. Also, I couldn’t be more grateful to all of those who’ve helped us get to where we are today: the customers, the partners and the employees. Here’s to 20 great years and many more to come!