Andres Rodriguez Plays Corporate Judo with Your Data

Andres Rodriguez, CEO and cofounder of Nasuni, is a man on the move. If he's not talking on the phone to investors or keeping customers happy with his personal touch, he's running off to some other meeting or conversing with someone else. Good luck getting his undivided attention during lunch because everybody, it seems, wants to engage him -- and why not? He's very engaging.

He may be a whirlwind, but his ceaseless pursuit of success is the reason that at the tender age of 45, he's already compiled a resume that most people would give anything to achieve in a lifetime. Over the past few years, he was CTO of The New York Times; cofounder and CTO for Archivas, which offered an enterprise-class cloud storage system; and CTO of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) File Services after HDS bought Archivas.

Why Nasuni? For Andres, it's about unfinished business. "I wanted to complete something I started 20 years ago when I began my career in physics," he explains. "I'm interested in two things: First, solving large data problems, like what to do with it all -- what I can do to make it really easy for IT to get a better handle on the incredible reams of data they have growing in datacenters. Second, I wanted something that everybody needed. My uncles used to always tell me, 'If you're going to do something and sell it, make sure it's something like underwear, which everyone needs. Don't be fancy.'"

With that sage advice in mind, he and cofounder and President Robert S. Mason Jr. developed the Nasuni Filer. Andres says it delivers unlimited file storage and complete protection, and leverages the cloud's unlimited capacity to store and protect customer files off-site while retaining the local functionality and performance of traditional network-attached storage. It was perfect -- he had wanted something that could be used by large and small companies alike, and, Andres notes, everybody uses file servers. Mission accomplished? Not yet, but the charge is on.

Although things seem to be going well so far, Andres is impatient and frustrated with the lack of knowledge concerning cloud storage. As he puts it, "I find it frustrating that cloud computing gets confused with cloud storage." In his view, this lack of awareness is a serious impediment to cloud storage companies such as Nasuni. He's especially concerned with the perception that cloud storage is insecure, saying: "Cloud storage is really way ahead of where cloud computing is because it has the security model that allows it to basically completely protect your data once it's in the cloud."

Andres may be rankled, but he's been through the awareness battles before, so he keeps pushing forward, undeterred. In his opinion, being a start-up is akin judo. As he puts it, in judo the trick is to find a way to defeat someone who is 10 times stronger than you -- and the way to do that is to use their own strength against them, and get them off balance. "We're playing judo all the time with partners that are 10 times, 100 times our size," he says.

There are other frustrations with each new day -- finding good people who take on each new challenge with a fresh outlook, reversing bad attitudes and searching out the best cloud service providers -- but Andres is up for the fight.

"The best you can do is think very hard about how you can put yourself in the path of enormous waves that are going to hit no matter what, and hopefully, if you do everything right, you won't drown -- but you're never going to control when or where the waves are going," he says.

What do you think about cloud storage? Is your company ready to move its data off-site? Tell me at bhoard@1105media.com.

About the Author

Bruce Hoard is the new editor of Virtualization Review. Prior to taking this post, he was founding editor of Network World and spent 20 years as a freelance writer and editor in the IT industry.

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