Andres Rodriguez experienced firsthand the pains of data archiving and content preservation as CTO of the New York Times during the dot-com era. Since then, he has dedicated two startups to finding a better way.
The first, Archivas (acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in 2006) was a pioneer in cloud storage and backup. His latest venture, Nasuni in Natick, Mass., addresses a more specific problem—how to provide companies with near-real-time access to key files, while preserving mission-critical data for disaster-recovery purposes. Backup isn’t an afterthought, it just happens. So far, it has raised $53 million; its most recent financing came in the form of a $10 million extension to its Series C round back in August 2014
“Simply put, we wanted a bigger share of Nasuni,” said Sigma Partners managing director Paul Flanagan, at the time. “With their disruptive technology and approach to delivering enterprise storage as a service, Nasuni is revolutionizing the way data storage is deployed.”
While it doesn’t disclose sales, Nasuni last year increased new customer bookings by more than 300%. Publicly disclosed accounts include global law firm Sedgwick LLP and architectural design company Perkins+Will. This month, it hired a dual-purpose COO and CFO to steer its next phase of operational growth. That executive, Scott Dussault, was also part of the team that orchestrated the Archivas buyout.
Fortune caught up with Rodriguez, the company’s president and CEO, to discuss Nasuni’s approach and how the company differentiates in the highly competitive enterprise storage marketplace.
Following are interview highlights, edited for length and clarity.
On what makes Nasuni’s approach unique:
We are connecting appliances that are really simple and largely disposable and feeding data centers with a master of the data, one that actually fits in with the cloud systems that we’re leveraging in the backend. We’re delivering the whole thing as an integrated solution for customers.
On why the onsite hardware component is important:
Because it’s easier to move yourself to the mountain than the mountain to you. If you look at where the applications are, [Nasuni’s] customers all tend to run pretty high-performance file data that users need quickly; so for instance, an engineering firm doing 3D designs or a legal firm doing document review. It could be any other number of scenarios where you actually need the users and the applications very, very close to the storage.
The way we solve that problem is we say we’re going to put in an appliance. That appliance is essentially accelerating the entire experience while the protection, the synchronization of data is all happening in the backend. So we’re dividing the problem.
What if I need to protect data in multiple geographies? What if I want that data available actually so that multiple people can collaborate on the same files across multiple geography? Those are problems that it’s only possible to solve in a really robust way by leveraging a cloud architecture. We’re blending two approaches: the traditional storage approach and the cloud services approach.
On what’s helping Nasuni win deals:
What is common with all of our customers is they have this file problem, this file growth problem. They’re all growing 30 plus % year over year, compound. They’re doubling their data every two to three years. So if you look across the verticals, it’s the verticals that may come to this first. You look at architecture, engineering, construction, legal, manufacturing, medical. Anyone that needs to touch files to do their work benefits from this approach.
The most compelling thing that people see initially in the system, what everyone wants to get away from I think in the enterprise today is they want to stop doing backups. Backups have become such a large part of where IT is spending its dollars. It’s kind of like an insurance. Unless you have an event, backup adds no functionality to your environment. It’s just a cost.
This item first appeared in the Feb. 9 edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology. Sign up here.