Paul Froutan, formerly head of global data center infrastructure at Google (s goog), is joining cloud-storage pioneer Nirvanix as CTO. The addition will almost certainly improve Nirvanix’s ability to deliver its services, but the larger-scale news might be another public infrastructure defection from Google. Earlier this month, information surfaced suggesting that Google’s lead network engineer Vijay Gill left the company to join Microsoft (s msft).
The move to CTO is both a big jump and a big opportunity for Froutan. Nirvanix is among the only cloud-storage services specifically targeting enterprise data; it operates a globally distributed storage infrastructure; it has begun pushing a hybrid offering that incorporates on-premise storage nodes; and it has raised $45 million since 2007. Prior to joining Google, Froutan was VP of engineering at Rackspace (s rax).
As a group of innovators discussed last week at Structure, there’s still plenty of opportunity for cloud-storage providers to improve their offerings in terms of energy efficiency and suitability for primary data. If Froutan can apply the lessons he learned at Rackspace and Google to Nirvanix’s business, both he and the company could come out golden as cloud storage grows from an estimated $1.5 billion in 2009 to $7 billion by 2014.
Feature image courtesy of Rod Trevaskus.