Acronis Nabs Red Hat Exec To Help Boost Cloud Storage Business

Acronis, a developer of storage software that unifies the protection of data across multiple storage infrastructures and platforms, hired a former Red Hat executive to boost its cloud storage capabilities.

Scott Crenshaw, who until a few days ago served as the vice president and general manager of Red Hat's Cloud Business Unit, is now the senior vice president of strategy and the chief marketing officer at Woburn, Mass.-based Acronis.

Crenshaw follows another recent high-level executive's move to Acronis. Blaine Raddon, most recently vice president of Americas partner sales at Juniper Networks, in March left Juniper to become general manager, Americas at Acronis

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Crenshaw also joins former Red Hat colleague Alex Pinchev, who was hired in January to become Acronis' new president and CEO. At Red Hat, Pinchev was president of global sales, services and field marketing. Acronis this year also hired two new senior vice presidents.

Crenshaw told CRN he plans to bring his experience in building some of the world's largest clouds to his new role at Acronis.

"We did some great things at Red Hat," Crenshaw said. "We changed the industry in a significant way. At Acronis, we can do the same."

Acronis develops data protection software for enterprise, SMB and SOHO customers. Its flagship enterprise product, Acronis Backup & Recovery 11.5, provides full backup and snapshot capabilities with bare-metal recovery across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.

That wide-ranging data protection capability is important as businesses are increasingly called upon to manage complex data requirements caused by new applications and an onslaught of mobile devices, Crenshaw said.

This is especially true as that data moves to the cloud, which Crenshaw said is becoming more and more fragmented.

"Companies are developing hybrid clouds that mix private and public clouds," he said. "It's a good idea. But it creates a lot of incompatible technologies, especially in storage. The future of the cloud is the ability to access data in any way customers want to. This is what Acronis can solve."

VMware and others have done a great job of building the infrastructure on which clouds are built, but the migration of data between physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures remains a huge challenge, Crenshaw said.

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"This creates an incompatible infrastructure," Crenshaw said. "Acronis has the technology to allow customers to get to their data regardless of where it is stored. It allows users' demand for simplicity to be managed by their companies' IT departments."

For example, he said, think of a company with physical and virtual servers and cloud storage that suddenly needs to call up from a server data created two years ago for litigation purposes. "The ability to pull that data up is important," he said. "The ability to move data between incompatible environments is what Acronis does."

Those capabilities were recently enhanced with Acronis' acquisition earlier this month of GroupLogic, a developer of software that enables secure file sharing, synchronization and collaboration both at the enterprise and at the mobile device level.

"GroupLogic allows access to data from multiple devices," Crenshaw said. "Customers need secure, remote access to their data, so it's a logical extension for Acronis. The GroupLogic technology is a way for resellers to offer something like Dropbox while knowing that the data is secure and is backed up."

Acronis has been successful in building an A-Team, including its hiring of Crenshaw, said Jason Schuerhoff, vice president of sales at Sublime Solution, a Londonderry, N.H.-based solution provider whose primary vendor partners are VMware and Acronis.

Sublime Solution has worked with Acronis since Sublime's founding nearly five years ago, and has built several offerings including a disaster recovery practice around the vendor's technology, Schuerhoff said.

"I've been growing with this company through the bumps and bruises of acquisitions and management changes," he said. "But they recently brought in a new head of sales as well as a new architecture team which really understands this business. With the new team, Acronis has the direction to move upstream with a single piece of glass to manage technology in the cloud."