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Zadara taps new CEO as founder moves to CTO role

Yoram Novick, the second CEO for cloud startup Zadara, brings decades of IT executive experience to the role and talks about private cloud competition in this Q&A.

Yoram Novick, a storage and HCI company entrepreneur, has taken the reins as CEO of Zadara, a managed cloud services company.

Nelson Nahum, CEO of Zadara since he helped found it in 2011, has shifted to the role of chief technology officer and chairman of the board.

Zadara, based in Irvine, Calif., provides compute, networking and storage services primarily to managed service providers (MSPs) through its federated edge cloud. MSPs that agree to partner with Zadara can act as additional cloud locations for other MSPs, enabling customers to access equivalent cloud services at edge locations and MSPs to share in customer revenues.

Novick, founder and CEO of former HCI software developer Maxta and data protection suite Topio, sees those seeking edge cloud services as a market underserved by the cloud hyperscalers. He added that he believes the continued maturation of the Zadara platform will be a challenger at the edge.

TechTarget Editorial spoke with Novick about Zadara's potential acquisition targets, and how he views the company compared with other private cloud offerings.

Yoram Novick, CEO, Zadara Yoram Novick

Zadara made several acquisitions in the past few years. Can you talk through the strategy there and what acquisitions you might consider in the coming years?

Yaram Novick: The idea in 2020 [through] 2021 was to expand Zadara from just a storage as a service company to a full-fledged cloud company. To do that, Zadara needed a compute piece. Zadara did organically develop the piece, [but] what Stratoscale provided is their IP [to let] Zadara accelerate the development of the compute piece.

You can look at ZVS as a business expansion, providing more coverage in a territory that didn't have coverage. By acquiring the company, Zadara got more sales capacity in Latin America than they could do organically. If there is another opportunity either to improve the technology or to improve access to more customers, Zadara will consider this as well.

There is nothing [planned], but as I said we are open.

Other technology vendors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle are looking to provide a similar private cloud experience to Zadara. How do you see the company competing against these players?

There is nothing [planned], but as I said we are open.
Yoram NovickCEO, Zadara

Novick: What you're talking about is legacy companies providing a subscription solution for people who want to build on-prem IT. What [these vendors] do is a different model. … With HPE, for example, [customers have] to commit to a configuration upfront. Even if they only use 10% of the data, they pay the full amount. Now, let's say [those customers] overprovision and want to scale down? There is no way to do that.

[These vendors] are not providing a consumption-based model. They say, 'You buy the hardware, we'll provide the software. But you have to commit to a fixed configuration, [and] you have to pay upfront.' … When we talk to our MSPs, they say, 'This model never works for us. We can't pay upfront because we don't know what we will use or when we will use it for which customer.'

How do you think Zadara's platform will help the development of new, cloud-centric technologies such as generative AI?

Novick: We don't like to talk about the future. It's definitely true that the hyperscaler can say, 'We can run large business intelligence in our platform.' Well, that's true. There may be use cases where the public cloud and the centralized model is good enough.

The customers we talked to are basically telling us they need a solution for the performance challenges and the data sovereignty challenges. They need a solution with a different pricing model than a subscription model, and that is where Zadara fits in.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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