Corporate Archiving at an Inflection Point; Interview with Plasmon CEO, Steven Murphy Part 1 of 2

In the last few years, the introduction of high capacity, low priced Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives into midrange and enterprise-class storage systems is fundamentally changing business practices around data and storage management. As these disk-based systems have gained corporate acceptance, disk storage vendors are now looking to move aggressively into areas like archive and backup where tape and optical vendors have long predominated.

Driving these changes is the introduction of technologies like deduplication and virtual tape into disk-based storage systems. These technologies are dramatically driving down the price of disk. It is now to the point where the full-scale replacement of tape and optical could become a reality in a growing majority of enterprise businesses in the next few years.

Despite disk’s growth, Plasmon, a manufacturer of archiving solutions based on UDO (Ultra Density Optical) continues to survive. So when my long-time friend, Steven Murphy, was hired by Plasmon as their CEO in November 2007, it caught my attention.

Steven Murphy previously served as the CEO of Softek before it was acquired by IBM about a year ago and as President of Amdahl Software before that. Having served primarily in positions where Mr. Murphy led software companies, it took me a bit by surprise when Mr. Murphy was announced as the CEO of Plasmon. To better understand his motivation behind accepting this position and what he saw in Plasmon’s future, I sat down with Mr. Murphy in early February.

Jerome: What specifically about Plasmon’s technology and potential drew you to accept Plasmon’s CEO position?

Steven: The archive marketplace, in terms of potential, resembles the SRM (Storage Resource Management) marketplace of a few years ago. At that time, companies needed better ways to manage their data and tier their storage. Now companies have truly established a three tier architecture. The top level of storage is for production data, the second level is for backup and the third level is for archive.

Right now we are at the inflection point in companies where archiving is a board room issue and companies are looking for cost-effective means to keep their data accessible and secure. While there is software out there that does archiving, Plasmon offers a solution that archives and manages long term retention of data via policy. So if you want to make an archive environment look and act like disk but have tape’s lower acquisition, power costs and longevity, you would end up with the unique capabilities found in Plasmon UDO (Ultra Density Optical) archive solutions.

The problem that surfaces with disk is that every 3 – 5 years you need to re-archive the data when it is time for a technology refresh. This technology refresh model can break the chain of custody and expose the business to risk since a best case scenario for keeping data on disk is five years. For instance, if you put a 30-year mortgage on disk, you are likely committing to at least 6 hard migrations based on a 5-year life span for each disk. To do this, you need really strong internal processes and software to manage the data over this life span. Organizations typically do not possess these capabilities.

Part 2 of the interview with Plasmon’s CEO, Mr. Steven Murphy, will appear later this month. You may contact Mr. Steven Murphy through Plasmon’s PR representative, Laura Tankersley at 720-407-6071 or at laura.tankersley@104west.com.

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