I have been in the storage business since 1997 when my good friend Steve Duplessie asked me to come work for him. At that time, I joined Invincible Technologies doing product management. Here we are almost 20 years later and what a ride it has been. I have watched this industry transform itself a number of times, met some pretty incredible people, and I am happy to call this industry my career.
As some of you may have seen, I recently left Catalogic Software to join INFINIDAT. Let me start by saying that I still wholeheartedly believe in what Catalogic is doing. Of my 20 years in this business, for 15 of it, we have been saying ‘backup is broken’ and new technologies come along, like deduplication, but the fundamental challenge with making all those copies of data that just sit around and do nothing to to help the business is a waste. And with data growing at the rate it is, and with lines of business needed to have access to data quickly to perform real business functions, copy data management is definitely the future of data management. Now Catalogic would say that they are more than an evolution in backup, and I agree, however, it is pretty clear that data protection is a great place to start fixing your environment and adding value, and by the way, there is always a backup budget. Why do you think there are 100+ backup vendors? Or how Veeam got into the market? The bigger picture, and what Catalogic stands for, is the ability to automate the mundane data management processes you have today by allowing clients to better leverage their data for multiple use cases. It is a win-win. In addition, their go to market as a software only play is very smart. Clients don’t need yet another storage appliance in their infrastructure to manage, they want to get more out of the assets they already own. I wish them all the best.
All that said, there comes a time in everyone career that an opportunity presents itself that you can’t turn down. So when the new CMO at INFINIDAT, Randy Arseneau, approached me to join, at first I was skeptical. After 25+ years in software (prior to the storage industry I worked for PTC supporting CAD software) why would I want to go to a hardware company?
This was a pretty dumb thought on my part. At first, I got the “We’re not hardware, it’s the software.” comment. To which I replied, “of course it is”. But as they began to break it down, it became more and more clear, it is all about the software that drives the standard intel servers and disk that are in the system. I was blown away by the innovative and logical architecture of the system. I don’t know why it should be such a surprise, the company was founded by Moshe Yanai and a host of developers who have built storage systems in the past and have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area.
Then I spoke with Brian Carmody, the CTO. When I asked Brian, what is the vision for INFINIDAT he summed it up with one statement, “To store humanity’s data, forever.” Well, a daunting task, but it was said with such conviction, I knew right there, this had to be something pretty special. I began to think about the storage systems that are in the market today. The technology that users store data on is old technology, and I would guess, the vast majority of data lives on arrays that were originally designed by Moshe. Don’t get me wrong, it works, but there has to be something that takes the world forward. It’s not about continuing to store data today, it’s about looking into the future and determining what it is going to take to have a storage platform that will sustain the needs of the ever changing business, as it continues to grow and need access to what is now businesses most important asset, data.
I have always prided myself on being able to help clients tie technology to business value. In my role at INFINIDAT as VP of Product Marketing, I am hoping to help evolve the current thinking of storing information today to “what is the long term plan”? A plan that is more than 12 months out. As data continues to grow at the pace in which it does, and the data access and data availability needs of the business evolve, traditional storage systems, and I will say it, WILL NOT be able to meet the needs of tomorrows business. It actually makes me think of the of a famous quote, “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein
Not only do I think INFINIDAT has an important role to play in helping to solve the challenges of data storage into the future, but I also believe they are probably one of the only companies that can.
I am very excited to have this opportunity to work for INFINIDAT. As a very good friend of mine, Rich Pappas, once told me, “a big part of what drives my career decisions, is the people I get to work with.” I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a great bunch of people who have already had a hand at changing the storage world and look forward to making history here.
Stay tuned, as I dive into some of the technical capabilities of the solution that make this system so special. In addition, the Storage Alchemist has some interesting new ideas coming that I hope are fun and interesting.