AITech Interview with Andrew Russell, Chief Revenue Officer at Nyriad

Discover the journey of Andrew Russell, Chief Revenue Officer at Nyriad, as he revolutionizes storage solutions and builds from the ground up.

Andrew Russell, the Chief Revenue Officer at Nyriad, has built a remarkable career centered around his passion for building and creating from the ground up. With over 30 years of experience, Andrew has led initiatives within major corporations, launched new businesses, and thrived in the hyper-growth phases of companies. Drawn to Nyriad by the opportunity to challenge traditional storage systems, Andrew joined the company two years ago to establish and develop a go-to-market organization for a groundbreaking storage product. Nyriad, founded in 2015, initially focused on developing GPU-accelerated technology for the Square Kilometer Array project. 

Learn more about Andrew and Nyriad in the following interview:

Kindly brief us about yourself and your journey as the Chief Revenue Officer at Nyriad.

From the time I first started my professional career over 30 years ago, I have found that I thrive and really enjoy being at the center of building things out from the ground up. Whether it was leading some of the first initiatives within major corporations or launching new businesses within established companies – to being one of the first in at a start-up, the one constant in my career has been this drive to build and create from the ground up.  

I think times of growth and hyper-growth within a company are some of the best times one can have in their career.  I had a long run at EMC2 (Dell) where I had the opportunity to grow and expand my skills and knowledge across different parts of the organization but also got to experience the various phases the company went through of growth, expansion, maturity, etc. When I left, I joined Pure Storage which at that point in time was still a start-up company and I got the opportunity to enjoy that hyper-growth phase of a company once again. 

What intrigued me about Nyriad prior to joining was that the product that was being developed was fundamentally being built from the ground up and was challenging decades of how storage systems have been designed and architected. I joined Nyriad two years ago to establish and build out a go-to-market organization for a yet to be launched storage product…It is a rare opportunity to be at the forefront of leading this kind of effort, but it is incredibly rewarding and exciting to be able to do this, especially when every day you get to work with an exceptional team of talented individuals that are all working together as one team with a common goal.

Please brief our audience about Nyriad and give us an overview of its standout product and services.

Nyriad began its journey in 2015 with an eye to developing GPU-accelerated technology and engaged early on with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project. The SKA is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope – ultimately deploying across two continents (Africa and Australia).   It will enable astronomers to capture detail about the universe thousands of times faster than any current systems, and with a detail and image resolution quality many times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope. The SKA represents an extreme data challenge – in that the data rate is high, the volume of data is very large, the system must never lose data, and based on the locations where the systems will be deployed, must be efficient both technically and financially, but also be resilient to failure.

In 2020, Nyriad transitioned its focus to commercializing a storage system built on a revolutionary new architecture. The requirements entailed developing a storage system that has high, consistent, and continuous performance at petabyte scale; has extreme data protection and integrity; is simple to use, non-disruptive to install and has a world-class cost structure.  

In 2021, Nyriad announced the UltraIOTM Storage System – the industry’s first storage solution that redefines how data is stored. Combining the power of GPUs and CPUs, the UltraIO storage systems delivers against each of these requirements – an exceptional combination of performance, resilience, and efficiency, enabling massive amounts of data and multiple data types to be managed in a single storage system that is simple to deploy, operate, scale, and maintain.

In 2022, Nyriad is focused on working with customers to improve their business outcomes with UltraIO.  We are seeing traction in the media and entertainment space with customers who replaced multiple storage appliances with a single UltraIO, citing that they are now completing projects 2.5 days sooner, given the performance of our system.  Another of our customers is a well-known higher education institution who wanted to consolidate several workloads, including medical image storage, e-Learning and patient monitoring, on a single system.  We are also experiencing traction with the use of UltraIO in backup and archive applications with one customer who backs up their editing stations to UltraIO – their Recovery Time Objective (RTO) decreased from 1.5 days to less than one hour.  

What are the core values on which the organization is built and what is the mission of the organization?

At the core of our ethos and culture is our values. We put our customers first. Always.  It is very important that we work together as one team, and we treat everyone fairly, honestly, and with transparency. This means having integrity and accountability. Excellence and innovation are key to our customers, partners, and our success. We strive for the highest of quality and continually seek a better way through innovation.  Lastly, while our teams work hard – we also want to make sure that we have fun doing it.

Our mission is simply to revolutionize the foundation of storage. We asked ourselves, ‘is there a better way?’ Can we architect a solution that enables customers to sleep better at night, and provide a solution that is performant, resilient, and efficient? The answer was “yes” so we set off on our journey to revolutionize the foundation of storage.

Being a strategic leader, how do you plan to further strategize Nyriad’s mission and vision?

Much of it comes down to having a plan, communicating the plan, and executing against it. 

As an organization – we must know where we want to be one, three, five years from now – which involves a combination of understanding the short and long-term trends in the industry and what customers are focused on, coupled with an understanding of where we are today, what are our capabilities, our strengths, our gaps and what are the things that we need to focus on.   There are always choices and trade-offs with any plan, but what is essential to any plan is strong communication between key stakeholders, ensuring there are clearly defined goals and objectives that are measurable, attainable and timebound, and that we can monitor, measure and adjust as needed progress against the plan.

To further our mission and vision, our executive and leadership teams are committed and aligned.  We have well defined corporate objectives, we understand where we want to be, but we also understand that as a fast-growing organization, we need to be uber-disciplined in our approach today.  We can’t be all things to everyone, we must be focused on the markets we serve; focused on developing the core features and capabilities of our product to serve and expand those markets; ensure we are developing and retaining our key talent; and ensure that we foster our culture of being customer-focused, one-team, and continuing to strive for excellence and quality across everything we do.

How is Nyriad empowering businesses to grow and stay competitive in a data-driven world?

Digital data is now a competitive advantage across industries, and in fact should be considered a strategic asset to drive business effectiveness.  There is inherent power in owning data, and driving toward a more data-centric culture and ensuring that data is discoverable, accessible and decision-enabling through secure and modern systems.  Businesses are not only tasked to manage the speed, and complexity of data today – they must be planning now and taking the next step in business-data-driven technology and innovation to be able to  manage the influx of what is coming tomorrow. Ensuring that a business’s data is secure and readily available, and not at risk of loss or corruption is paramount to enabling data-driven business outcomes.

Nyriad solves this complex data equation with  our combined GPU and CPU Architecture that redefines what is possible with storage to drive data-powered businesses forward. Our UltraIO storage platform provides an exceptional combination of  high-performance, resilience and efficient cost-effective storage. Our  intelligent data placement algorithms allow businesses to keep pace with heavy workloads and provide an overall consistent  experience for even the most performant requirements.

As a result, businesses can increase their overall business performance and get to market sooner with our unique architecture that lets them unlock the insight needed to strengthen and improve their business advantage. Business resilience is reinforced, and data management risks are minimized to help businesses best cope with change. With Nyriad, you are not only reimagining your storage but redefining your data-driven business potential as well.

How is Nyriad solving the most challenging problems of storage through its standout leadership?

One of the early Nyriad team members is Doctor Stu Inglis – he’s our CTO today.  Dr. Stu has an incredible background – 25+ years of experience in IT architecture and software development.  He’ll tell you that his primary goal with the design of UltraIO’s architecture was to help sysadmins get sleep.  As a data center administrator himself, he grew frustrated with seeing how his friends were often called to the datacenter at odd hours of the night – drives never seemed to fail during the day!  He was frustrated with the fact that when drives failed, the performance of his storage infrastructure tanked and it sometimes took days or weeks for performance to be restored.  And arguably most importantly, he would describe how it bothered him that a more efficient system had yet to be designed to counterbalance all these dynamics – after all, the core technology underlying these systems – RAID – was decades old and hadn’t yet seen a viable alternative surface.  As is often the case, great innovation stems from frustration.  Dr. Stu worked with the talented team at Nyriad to take a “blank sheet of paper approach” to designing an architecture for storage systems that offered system admins a more restful night of sleep, offered CIOs a lower total cost of ownership vs. their existing infrastructure, and provided application owners with exceptional performance.  

What advice would you give budding leaders and entrepreneurs wanting to explore technological advancements?

From a technology perspective – I would advise budding leaders and entrepreneurs to always be thinking about the “what, how & why”.  Think about what the challenges and problems are that customers are trying to solve, how is the technology that is being developed going to solve those challenges, and then why should the customer want to leverage that technology through the business value, operational benefits, and technical efficiencies they will gain…. 

As you think about your organization – always be thinking about the kind of culture you want across the organization, transparency of communications, and ensuring you have a plan that is not only realistic but has metrics that are measurable.  No matter what… integrity, grit, and teamwork should be non-negotiables – without these, the opportunity for success will be limited.

Andrew Russell

Chief Revenue Officer at Nyriad

Andrew has 25+ years of sales leadership, strategic and operational roles, including 20+ years specifically in the storage industry, with both global businesses and start-up companies such as Pure Storage and EMC.

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