EMC Scion John Egan Joins Open Cloud Startup Trilio’s Board


John Egan, the highly respected former EMC sales leader-turned-venture capitalist, will take a seat on the board of Trilio, a data protection vendor for open cloud technologies, the company said Monday.

Trilio's newest director, son of EMC co-founder Richard Egan and managing partner of Egan-Managed Capital, will be a valuable source of advice on channel development for the startup that offers "the only native data-protection solutions" for OpenStack and Red Hat Virtualization, Trilio CEO David Safaii told CRN.

Egan held several executive positions at EMC before leaving the company after 17 years in 2002. He resigned from the boards of EMC and its subsidiary, VMware, when Dell closed its acquisition of EMC in September 2016.

Now, after serving nearly a decade as chairman of VMware's board of directors, Egan will help guide a company that's providing an important technology for enabling open source platforms to challenge proprietary virtualization vendors.

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[Related: Trilio Ramps Up Channel Program For Its First-To-Market OpenStack Backup Service]

Egan adds to Trilio's EMC roots—co-founder and CTO Murali Balcha was motivated to launch the startup after working on VMware and OpenStack integrations as an EMC software manager, and many employees at the startup's Framingham, Mass., headquarters once worked at the storage giant.

The company's TrilioVault is an on-premise or cloud data backup solution built to align with all the characteristics of cloud—"self-service, multi-tenant, forever scalable, software-defined, and completely agentless," Safaii said.

The technology captures both enterprise data and metadata on VM, operating system and network configurations to protect application integrity.

Safaii was initially introduced to Egan through one of Trilio's advisors. (He wouldn't say whether Egan's firm is an investor in the startup.)

Egan's background and experience at EMC makes him a coveted advisor on routes to market. On those channel development issues, he "can help us prevent making mistakes," Saffai said.

"He provides an incredible amount of sage wisdom and advice, and he sees the growing consumption of the open source model," Safaii said of Egan.

Trilio launched in 2013, but held back release of its technology until 2016, sensing OpenStack developers needed time to advance the complex cloud-building framework before the market was ready for a data protection solution.

Since then, the business has rapidly scaled in alignment with the OpenStack market, which has taken some interesting swings in recent years. The open cloud technology shed the hype it initially enjoyed, but has been gaining popularity with enterprises in foreign markets and has developed a niche with telecoms in the U.S.

Trilio is closely aligned with OpenStack developers, including Red Hat, Canonical, Mirantis and SUSE.

"We work hard to make sure we're easy to deploy across those environments," Saffai said.

Once the product launched, inquiries started flowing into the company for further integrations.

Most OpenStack deployments run on top of the KVM hypervisor. Systems integrations giant Accenture was one of the companies that requested Trilio develop its platform for KVM independent of OpenStack to support Red Hat Virtualization.

Now Trilio is the only native data protection solution for that open source virtualization platform as well, Safaii said, and can be integrated seamlessly with Red Hat's software-defined storage and DevOps tools.

Trilio sees itself competing with legacy backup vendors that are trying to "force-fit themselves" into the open source world. The company offers its service through a consumption-based software model.

The next milestone will be backing up containerized applications through integrations with Red Hat's OpenShift platform, he said.

Currently the company's channel is bifurcated between OpenStack and KVM partners, Safaii told CRN.

On the OpenStack side, Trilio engages with a number of VARs and global systems integrators that are delivering white-glove OpenStack solutions to some of the world's largest enterprises.

The Red Hat Virtualization business is more focused on velocity sales, which comes through relationships with distributors, Safaii said.

"This is Jack [Egan's] experience," Safaii told CRN. "How to take these things to market, channel versus distributors."