BlueArc President Speaks Up

Former McData exec Mike Gustafson says his new job with BlueArc is 'not for the faint of heart'

June 16, 2004

2 Min Read
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After spending more than five years with McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), Mike Gustafson decided he wanted to do more than run a companys marketing department. So he stepped down as McData’s senior VP of worldwide marketing in May and today was officially named president of well funded NAS startup BlueArc Corp. (see McData Loses Another and BlueArc Names President).

As reported by Byte and Switch last week, Gustafson will manage BlueArc’s day-to-day operations, allowing chairman and CEO Gianluca Rattazzi to focus on product development and strategy (see Gustafson Leads Exec Carousel). We caught up with Gustafson for a quick chat on his first day on the job.

Byte and Switch: So why did you leave McData for BlueArc?

Gustafson: It’s right in line with my career and personal objectives.

Byte and Switch:To be a company president?Gustafson: Absolutely. Like it said, it’s directly in line with my career goals. I’m delighted to be in the leadership role that I’m in.

Byte and Switch: How closely did you follow BlueArc before they approached you?

Gustafson: I noticed its most recent funding last summer, and friends in the industry started to say, ‘Why don’t you go take a look at them?’ [See BlueArc Wallows in $47M Haul.]In this business, survival is the number one thing. Building a customer base is number two. Funding is three, and a strong commitment to execute is number four.

Byte and Switch: When BlueArc introduced the Titan system in January, it was seen as an attempt to break out of the high-end NAS space and perhaps capture some traditional SAN customers. [See BlueArc Titan to Battle Giants.] Where do you see BlueArc playing?

Gustafson: Customers are less focused on how we define ourselves than with how we can solve problems. The Titan plays extremely well in the high-end NAS space, and the mid-range SAN space as well.Byte and Switch: The high-end NAS space puts you right up against EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), who have had a lock on that market.

Gustafson: That’s right. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. But we’ve established a customer set by creating vertical markets where we do very well, such as high performance computing and media and entertainment.

Byte and Switch: It’s no secret that BlueArc would like to go public. Do you see that happening soon? [See SAN Snacks From SNW.]

Gustafson: It’s surely our objective to get to the public market. We have to stay focusing on executing. There are no guarantees in this market, but we feel good about our chances.

Figure 1: Mike Gustafson, president, BlueArc

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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