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New Infrascale CEO outlines multi-cloud backup and recovery vision

Infrascale's new CEO has his eyes on the 'multi-cloud' sky. The vendor plans to roll out updated backup and disaster recovery technology to its SMB base over the next year.

With a new CEO and today's completion of a funding round, backup and recovery vendor Infrascale is looking to scale.

Russell Reeder took over the Infrascale CEO job from founder Ken Shaw, who will remain in an advisory role. Reeder, who has worked in executive positions at several tech companies, started about two months ago.

Reeder said Infrascale is not disclosing the exact amount of the new funding, but it's between $10 million and $20 million. Current investors Route 66 Ventures and Carrick Capital Partners led the round.

Infrascale plans to "build out the infrastructure to scale the business" with the funding and provide multi-cloud backup and recovery, Reeder said.

The company offers three major products: Infrascale Cloud Backup, Infrascale Disaster Recovery and Infrascale Cloud Application Backup. Reeder said Infrascale's recovery time and snapshot technology help set it apart in the highly competitive data protection market.

"We don't have to rebuild the entire backup in order to spin it up," Reeder said. "Within seconds we are ready for you to start to spin up your applications."

Infrascale claims 60,000 customers, supporting more than 250,000 endpoints and managing 350 PB. It sells primarily through the channel, with some direct sales, and has about 1,000 partners. The company has about 160 employees, Reeder said.

Founded in 2011, Infrascale focuses on the SMB market.

Infrascale CEO Russell ReederRussell Reeder

Before joining Infrascale, Reeder was president and CEO at cloud provider OVHcloud US, which acquired vCloud Air from VMware during his stint. Previously, he was president and COO at cloud hosting business Media Temple. He helped lead Media Temple's sale to internet hosting company GoDaddy, where he served on the executive team. Reeder has also worked at Oracle.

The new Infrascale CEO said the company is eyeing one overall platform that can cover the backup and disaster recovery needs of its SMB base. To learn more about the company's offerings and plans, including the potential for acquisitions, and how it stacks up against "larger" competition, read the Q&A below.

What was happening that required an Infrascale CEO change now?

Russell Reeder: As in many tech companies, the founder brought it to a certain level. The investors were still committed to the company in the space; they didn't want to sell the company. If you don't believe in the company, it's probably a good time to sell.

In this space there's been a lot of aggregation -- there were a lot of offers coming across the bow. But we're looking to double down in the backup and disaster recovery space, bring in some new talent, as well as additional investment, and grow and take the company to the next level.

What have you been doing since you began in the Infrascale CEO position?

Reeder: Just gathering information. I did have the luxury -- this is not my first rodeo. I have worked with Route 66 before. Route 66 and Carrick Capital are the owners. And Route 66 asked me to come in, do some due diligence on Infrascale. And after three weeks I came back and they were looking for a new CEO. I said, 'I know the space. I like the company and I'd like you to throw my name in the hat.'

I brought in multiple people who I have worked with at multiple companies before. One of the nice things about being in this industry is you know who are the right people. And so for the backup and disaster recovery [market], a lot of companies are much larger than we are, but we have a lot of global scale and I knew exactly the executives to bring.

I wanted to focus on three core things that really could take Infrascale to the next level: turning customers into evangelists, really invigorating the [staff] culture, and then from a technical perspective, making sure we're making the right bets for the future in this multi-cloud scenario.

Can you give more detail on your near-term and long-term goals as Infrascale CEO?

Reeder: First was to recruit [executive staff]. The second is to do the proper business planning, so we're currently going through now and evaluating what our priorities are. We're building those plans right now, putting that into a budget, and we will have the board approve that entire plan. And then we'll really start to put the pedal to the metal and grow Infrascale with the budget, with the plan, and with the focus on providing a great product.

On the technology side, how will you be adding products or growing the product set that you have already? 

Reeder: We have our Infrascale Cloud Backup that allows any device, any server to back up directly to the cloud. It also has ransomware detection. Our disaster recovery products are really focused on that SMB and small enterprise that has multiple locations where they need a recovery on premises, as well as in the cloud. From an engineering perspective, having the two technologies work closer together to provide more of a multi-cloud type scenario in the future is something that we're working toward.

We have the physical appliance that backs up to our private cloud. You can also take our virtual appliance for disaster recovery and put it in the public cloud. We have some amazing tech, but taking it and making it easier to integrate into the public cloud is another advancement that we're going to make.

You mentioned there are a lot of companies that are bigger than you, so how do you compete with them?

Reeder: Time to recover is a very good competitive advantage for us, coupled with our Infrascale Cloud Backup, where we can back up all [customers'] endpoints to the cloud. And with the disaster recovery product, their primary can be on premises, and their secondary can be in our private cloud or in their private cloud or even a public cloud, so that's really unique.

You have so many companies that are very well funded and have grown quickly but are really focusing on that high enterprise side of the market. And you have companies at the lower end focusing on the very small businesses. So our target is in that SMB market where we feel that we have the traction.

Who would you say are the vendors that you go up against the most?

Reeder: Datto on the low end for the smaller SMB side and on the larger side it's Veeam that's starting to come down market as well, especially as they're trying to be more than just a backup product.

Following the funding round, are acquisitions on the table? Or on the reverse side, is getting acquired a possibility?

Reeder: We are looking at some potential aggregation, to go potentially acquire some companies in the space. That's something that my management team and I have done before multiple times. This is a pretty mature industry from a technology [standpoint] and so really what you're capturing [in an acquisition] are channel relationships, MSPs, as well as end customers.

What companies want is a full multi-cloud backup and disaster recovery product at a great price.
Russell ReederCEO, Infrascale

From a technology perspective, we think that we have everything we need to scale this business. There's not something that's missing. There's a lot of investment being made in secondary storage and how all these backup and disaster recovery companies are going to be the next AI/intelligent place to give answers to your data across all your systems. I don't believe that companies want to go to their backup and disaster recovery products to get AI about their sales or their financials. You have amazing systems to do that. It could be something in the future. But what companies want is a full multi-cloud backup and disaster recovery product at a great price.

One of Infrascale's focuses is ransomware -- with a lot of companies going in that direction, how do you think your company stands out in the market?

Reeder: Our Infrascale Cloud Backup ransomware technology, we're bringing that closer to our disaster recovery side. The ransomware protection tracks the velocity of changes to files, files that most likely shouldn't be changing, and it alerts the system administrators for any potential ransomware intrusions. So taking that technology and building that into our Infrascale Disaster Recovery as well -- that's one of the things on our roadmap, to make sure that, whether it's backup or disaster recovery, that we have that alert process and point of intrusion detection.

In terms of your product set, it sounds like you're going for more integration among what you offer already. Are you heading toward one overall platform that you can offer to customers that has all the technology that you have right now?

Reeder: Yes, that's where it goes -- the lines have grayed. Ten, 15, 20 years ago, backup was backup and disaster recovery was disaster recovery. Now, high availability is a part of your disaster recovery as well, but a full backup and disaster recovery product for a multi-cloud world, that provides warm backups versus cold backups, is the future.

Do you have a product timetable?

Reeder: We'll start to roll out new features by the end of the year. Within a year we should have much of what we're working on today. I've only been here two months, so we're still finalizing all the specific roadmap plans.

Is the focus still going to be on that SMB size?

Reeder: Correct, SMBs that primarily have multiple locations. They need to get their data to either boot up on premises or in the cloud.

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