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Alain Andreoli, CEO, Xiotech

Just over a year ago, Alain Andreoli took over as president and CEO of Xiotech Corp., leaving behind a job as head of worldwide sales for switch maker McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA). (See McData Sales Boss McExits and Ex-McData EVP to Head XIOtech.)

Andreoli admits he knew little of the Eden Prairie, Minn., private company before its board of directors contacted him about the job. He did know competition was fierce for a systems company knocking heads with Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL),

EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Now that hes settled in, Andreoli firmly believes he made the right move – and not just because he’s the boss. “Implementing our business model is much easier than being in the switch business,” he says. “We are carving a business in a huge market – in excess of $10 billion. We’re a small, agile, nimble fish in a big ocean. In the switch business, you are struggling in a $1.5 billion fishbowl with two other sharks.”

We caught up with Andreoli recently to discuss his year on the job. It's been a busy one: He's built out Xiotech’s sales channel while trying to establish an international presence (see XIOtech Launches Channel Program and Xiotech, Bell Microproducts Partner). He hired Maranti Networks Inc. founders Kuldeep Sandhu and Santosh Lolayekar to head a new development team in May, then added Dell storage chief Karl Schubert as CTO in June, and former Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT) VP Mike Stolz as marketing EVP in August (see Xiotech Hires Maranti Founders, Dell Storage Chief Joins Xiotech, and Xiotech Rolls Out Drives, New EVP ).

On the product side, Andreoli came to Xiotech a few months after the company released its Magnitude 3D system, the one that fixed the single point of failure issue that limited sales of the company's first storage controller (see XIOtech Fixes a Failing). During Andreoli's tenure, Xiotech's added the Magnitude 3D Edge entry-level SAN, a Windows-based NAS system, and a replication appliance to go with its flagship Magnitude 3D system (see XIOtech Launches Entry-Level SAN , Xiotech Launches New NAS, and Xiotech Replicates).

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