CIO Influence
CIO Influence Interviews Data Management Security

CIO Influence Interview with Dave Grant, President at Nasuni

CIO Influence Interview with Dave Grant, President at Nasuni

“Cloud application migrations, remote work and ransomware challenges are forcing IT to look at new approaches to file data management.”

Hi, Dave. Welcome to our Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities at Nasuni. How did you arrive at this company?

Hi, thank you for having me. I’m the president of the company which means I get the pleasure of managing all of our 750 enterprise customers from the time they are not yet customers to ongoing satisfaction. I came to Nasuni just over three years ago. Prior to Nasuni I spent time at large IT infrastructure companies such as Veeam software and VMware and saw firsthand how the cloud was going to disrupt these legacy approaches. I was looking to join a high-growth cloud company that had major technology differentiation and a large market opportunity and Nasuni fit that perfectly.

What is Nasuni? What are your core offerings?

Nasuni is transforming the file data storage and data protection markets with a cloud-based approach. Many enterprise IT markets have been disrupted by the cloud but the vast majority of enterprise file data still resides in siloed data centers, where it is hard to access and to protect, difficult to collaborate on and impossible to analyze in order to harness the value of that data.

Cloud application migrations, remote work and ransomware challenges are forcing IT to look at new approaches to file data management. Nasuni’s cloud-native file management platform replaces traditional on-premises infrastructure with a far more powerful and simple-to-manage solution, all at 40% to 60% of the cost.

We take advantage of the inherent scale, stability and global reach of the public cloud to provide a wide array of transformational capabilities:

  • Consolidate all data into a single instance in the cloud while providing local-like performance with a hybrid model
  • Allow access to this data from their corporate office, remote offices, home — virtually anywhere
  • Harness the power of the cloud for infinite scale, ironclad protection and dramatic costs savings
  • And deliver this all as a service, freeing customers from managing data centers and expensive infrastructure

Simply put, we make file data accessible from anywhere and protected from anything — all for about half the cost of a traditional file system.

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How have cloud file services evolved in the last 2-3 years?

File data was already moving to the cloud when the pandemic came but it was significantly accelerated when everyone had to suddenly w*************. IT professionals needed to scramble to enable remote access to file data while keeping it secure.

At first, companies deployed file sync and share technologies like SharePoint or Box to deliver these capabilities but quickly realized that they cannot replace enterprise file storage. The cost and complexity of these systems at scale are prohibitive. The second approach was to leverage legacy network attached storage (NAS) that was built 20+ years ago for on-premises in the cloud. Again, this approach does not work due to cost and complexity. Then came along cloud-native file data services.

Among cloud-native file data services platforms, we’ve seen a number of advancements. Cloud-native file management platforms can take advantage of cloud-based object storage, for example, to provide u******** capacity and strong ransomware protection. By combining highly efficient snapshots with read-only object storage, these systems can ensure ransomware cannot encrypt files in the cloud, and any files encrypted in the on-premises cache can be quickly restored. It transforms what could be a catastrophic outcome into, at most, a minor annoyance.

Additionally, cloud-native file management systems have developed robust systems to support work from anywhere, given the rapid shift to remote and hybrid working arrangements. Employees need to be able to securely and quickly access files, even when they’re outside of the corporate firewall. Fast and secure access without having to resort to cumbersome, slow VPNs makes an enormous difference in these employees’ productivity and work experience.

What impact did the shift to remote / hybrid working environment have on your business model? How do you cater to the needs of remote-working customers?

We heard a lot from our customers about the need to provide simple, fast, secure and easy-to-manage access to files for their employees, many of whom were working in places without a very strong connection. In response, we introduced Nasuni Access Anywhere – a secure VPN-less solution that provides resilient web access to files from any location, even in high-latency environments. It also allows employees to securely share files and folders with clients, contractors and partners anywhere in the world. The other big issue with remote/hybrid work is the performance of those files being accessed. Full cloud offerings don’t perform well for employees that may be far away from the cloud region. Nasuni’s unique hybrid architecture leverages intelligent edge access points to cache file data delivering local-like performance.

Cyber threats have created a sense of uncertainty among cloud adoption centers. What is your view on consolidation of data and cloud applications for better management?

It’s a positive trend for security. By consolidating data and apps in the cloud, it’s far easier to manage and protect. For instance, file data is one of the most targeted assets when it comes to ransomware. Unfortunately, most organizations have this data sitting in siloed locations with little to no management capabilities. Nasuni is able to consolidate all of these silos into the cloud provider of choice. This consolidation enables centralized management and data protection including ransomware detection and rapid recovery. Only a cloud-native solution that leverages the power of object storage can deliver this.

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How do customers use your disaster and ransomware recovery solutions for securing their cloud infrastructure? What is the success rate of these products?

It’s extremely successful. Our system leverages highly efficient snapshots which are sent to the cloud. The gold copy of all file data is protected by read-only object storage, so it cannot be encrypted by ransomware. If a customer experiences a ransomware attack and the data in their on-premises appliances is affected, all they have to do is revert back to an earlier version of the file share and they’re ready to go. Also, we have ransomware detection at the edge that is inline so we can detect issues as they happen instead of scanning documents after the fact. This combination of discovery at the edge and rapid recovery is highly effective.

Here’s an example of how this works: LEO A DALY is a large architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firm that’s been a Nasuni customer for more than seven years. When a rogue file infected with ransomware encrypted about half of the files across the company’s network, they were able to fully recover those files in less than an hour with little to no productivity loss.

Please tell us more about your NAS and File Server Consolidation model. How does your platform integrate with AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle and Microsoft Azure?

We are a multi-cloud provider. Nasuni customers can leverage any of the cloud providers for object storage. In our system, the gold copy of all files are stored in object storage in the cloud, which allows organizations to manage all files from a single namespace, enabling access from anywhere. AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure are all close Nasuni partners and our platform works natively with each. And while we do not have a formal partnership with Oracle, Nasuni is cloud-agnostic, so customers who want their data in Oracle can certainly do so.

What are the biggest barriers / challenges in data migration? How could leveraging AIOps and predictive analytics ensure better outcomes during migration?

The biggest barrier is inertia. There’s no getting around that it’s a big project and enterprise IT has been managing files using the same on-premises systems for decades. They’re comfortable with them. But the future is in the cloud, and it will be impossible for traditional systems to provide the same ease-of-use, agility and protection that cloud-native file management systems enable.

Nasuni has created technology to speed data migration from on-premises to the cloud and from cloud to cloud. We also have a team of migration experts that have migrated more than 200PBs of data from on-premises to the cloud.

AIOps plays a significant role here. For example, our AIOps features can intelligently determine file patterns and usage so customers can decide which files need to be migrated or not and prioritize automatically. This saves a lot of time and effort.

Your advice to CIOs looking to build a strong data migration capacity model for their organization:

First, engage with a vendor that can show you how they can seamlessly help you migrate your data. Organizations don’t have to migrate the entire file system all at once. They can start with a discrete number of files — maybe from one department or geographic area — and then, over time, migrate the rest as the value of the cloud-native system becomes proven. But if an enterprise does want to migrate everything at once, we’ve migrated petabytes of file data for customers to our service without any disruption at all to the production environment. So long as you work with a company that has experience and a strong services team, migrating even large amounts of file data to the cloud can be a smooth transition that users don’t even notice… until they start taking advantage of the system’s advanced capabilities.

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Thank you, Dave! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at]

David Grant is president of Nasuni and responsible for all field operations, which include sales, marketing, alliances, professional services, customer success and experience.

Dave is a veteran marketer with 20 years of experience in senior leadership roles at software companies – from startups to multibillion-dollar operations. He joined Nasuni from Veeam Software, where he was the senior vice president of global marketing. Prior to Veeam, he served as the vice president, marketing at VMware. Dave also served as the CMO at two startups. Desktone, acquired by VMware, and Watchfire, acquired by IBM.

Dave has a master’s in finance from Dalhousie University and a bachelor’s in marketing from Saint Mary’s University.

Nasuni Logo

Nasuni Corporation is a leading file data services company that helps organizations create a secure, file data cloud for digital transformation, global growth and information insight. The Nasuni File Data Platform is a cloud-native suite of services that simplifies file data infrastructure, enhances file data protection and ensures fast file access globally at the lowest cost. By consolidating file data in easily expandable cloud object storage from Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and others, Nasuni becomes the cloud-native replacement for traditional network attached storage (NAS) and file server infrastructure, as well as complex legacy file backup, disaster recovery, remote access, and file synchronization technologies. Organizations worldwide rely on Nasuni to easily access and share file data globally from the office, home or on the road. Sectors served by Nasuni include manufacturing, construction, creative services, technology, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, oil and gas, financial services and public sector agencies. Nasuni’s corporate headquarters is based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA delivering services in over 70 countries around the globe.

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