CRN Exclusive: Storage Startup Rubrik Gets First Channel Chief, Promises Big Changes For Partners

Rubrik's Bill Cordero

Storage startup Rubrik has hired a seasoned executive to be its first channel chief, and given him a mandate to develop a formal channel program.

Bill Cordero joined Rubrik on Nov. 2 as the company's head of worldwide channels. His appointment is expected to be announced early next week.

Cordero joins Rubrik after a two-year stint at Tegile Systems, a Newark, Calif.-based developer of all-flash storage solutions, where he served at vice president of worldwide channels. He also managed channels at several other vendors, including Data Domain, where he worked with current Rubrik investors Dave Schneider and Frank Slootman.

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Rubrik, which in March came out of stealth mode, developed the Rubrik r300 family of hardware appliances, which ties the company's data protection software with an industry-standard server to offer a scale-out solution for keeping a customer up and running in case of a loss of data.

The software in the r300 family is based on Rubrik's own file system, which uses both flash and disk-based storage to do globally compressed and deduplicated backups.

Cordero told CRN that it was more than a close relationship with some of Rubrik's investors that caused him to join Rubrik.

"If you think about it, in spite of all the storage innovation of the last decade, backup has not been a big beneficiary of that innovation," he said. "Primary storage is pretty sexy. Just look at companies like Pure Storage and Tegile. But Rubrik is exciting."

Cordero said Rubrik is unique in its hyper-converged data protection offering, which combines on-premises appliances with the cloud.

"It provides instantaneous restores, with RTO [return to operations] and RPO [recovery point objective] times effectively eliminated," he said. "Customers can us it to archive data to the cloud, or for site-to-site disaster recovery."

Before Cordero joined Rubrik, the company's channel program was just getting off the ground, with the field sales organization rather than a specific executive managing it, he said.

Now that he has taken responsibility for the program, Cordero said, he will build out a new partner portal, scale up the current deal registration program, and focus on recruiting a limited number of channel partners with strong storage and data protection backgrounds.

"I'm not going to get our product over-distributed," he said. "We'll focus on key partners."

Executives at a couple of solution providers that have already signed on with Rubrik said they like the company's technology, and look forward to seeing its channel programs expanded.

Rubrik is an extremely flexible and nimble company compared with its larger peers, said Heath Tow, vice president at Datalink, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based solution provider and Rubrik partner.

"We like it as an alternative to some of the more traditional technologies like Data Domain or EMC's Avamar," Tow told CRN. "It's easy to use, and easy to manage. It provides a platform we can scale to over the long term."

Tow said he would like to see Cordero focus on the kind of things that companies like Pure Storage and other fast-growing storage vendors with strong channel programs do. "These companies are picking up aggressive sales reps on both the direct and channel sides," he said.

Worth Davis, chief technology officer at Computex Technology Solutions, a Houston-based solution provider and Rubrik channel partner, told CRN that Rubrik has proven itself with disruptive technology that brings value to customers in the backup and archive market.

"From our experience, Rubrik can go toe to toe against bigger companies and win," Davis said. "We've put in proofs of concepts, and had customers adopt the platform."

Computex targets customers with from 100 to 10,000 virtual and physical servers, Davis said.

"Going forward, I'd like to see more formality to the company's channel program," he said. "Cordero has built great channel programs before. I expect he'll do so again at Rubrik."