In this first part of a two-part interview series with Permabit’s CEO Tom Cook, DCIG analyst Jerome Wendt discusses with Tom how organizations are focusing more on storage system fundamentals and why they are so important at this time. Jerome also gets Tom’s take on how organizations should prepare for the new regulations coming out of Congress as well as how the emergence of Tier 0 (SSD) and enterprise archival storage systems will start to put a squeeze on primary storage systems in 2009.
Jerome: Financial institutions are clearly at the center of this economic crisis. But I have heard some anecdotal evidence that they are so worried about their immediate survival that they are taking their eye off the ball in regards to satisfying their internal and external compliance requirements. Have you seen evidence of this? If so, in what respects?
Tom Cook: I haven’t seen this specifically but there are lots of changes occurring that cause them concern. Many are focused on budgets and maintaining head counts but there are a lot of disruptions occurring that are preventing them from doing that. However, this just presents Permabit with the opportunity to better articulate our value proposition to the customer and provide them with a flexible architecture that can cost effectively change and grow with their ever increasing storage demands.
These companies are more resistant to buying storage systems just because they offer the latest “doo-dad”. They are really thinking bigger and more strategically in their planning cycles as they are getting ready for massive information growth. As they do so, they are looking to put in place storage systems that will enable them to become more competitive, especially when it comes to the long-term cost associated with managing their companies’ data growth.
Jerome: Right now there is significant press about the likelihood of new regulations coming out of the incoming Congress. This would seem to play directly into Permabit’s strengths. What preparatory actions should organizations be taking now in preparation for these changes and how can Permabit help them meet those needs?
Tom Cook: Four points to keep in mind:
- Think long-term about information and the nature of its retention requirements.
- Look historically at how storage and information has changed and grown in your specific environments, plan for massive growth. According to the latest reports information is doubling every 3-5 years for most enterprises.
- Freeze primary disk investment. Primary disk has become a junkyard of sorts with tons of data that is very infrequently accessed. Move fixed information to a value or archive tier.
- Finally, call me as I can help!
Jerome: Organizations are obviously concerned about the financial viability of the vendors that they do business with and, when it comes to archive, it would seem even more so. How is Permabit responding to these types of customer inquiries and what re-assurance are you providing them?
Tom Cook: Permabit has first and foremost been appropriately capitalized to ensure we can take advantage of the market opportunity.
I see a great change in what technologies that equity firms are willing to invest in. In some cases they have overpaid for a given technology and much of that will be pulled back this year but 90% of the innovation is still coming from smaller firms.
Companies are now very receptive to new game changing technologies like what we offer at Permabit., especially since Permabit has been in business for quite some time now with an extremely capable management team in place with a proven track record that it can build and deliver enterprise level products.
Finally, Permabit has large enterprise businesses that have been long-term customers of ours and are willing to provide references when needed. Our field sales team is very capable and we have developed elite relationships with many channel organizations as well as direct relationships with a number of customers. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that people buy from people.
Jerome: What are your predictions for major technology trends for 2009?
Tom Cook: There are five trends I see emerging in 2009:
- This will be the year of the great devaluation of primary storage. Primary storage will begin to be squeezed by Tier-0 (SSD Disk) on one side of the spectrum and squeezed by Permabit on the other side via archival.
- Traditional RAID schemas will start to hit a ceiling. Even industry people recognize that RAID gets more unwieldy as disk drives get larger. The price / performance ratios within RAID continue to be less efficient and RAID is already struggling today to keep up with rebuild and reconstruction time windows. I predict by 2010 that RAID will become an out-moded way to protect information.
- Dedupe will finally be exposed for what it is. Deduping backups only treats a symptom, not the disease, as primary storage frames are loaded with data that is more archival than transactional in nature.
- Regulatory pressures become more specific. Regulations will continue to increase and emerge as a result of the fallout from the Wall Street crisis and the pressures from the new administration to hold higher levels of data for longer periods of time.Government action will put new demands on IT to keep more information online and readily accessible accelerating storage growth.
- Cost becomes the driving issue. End users will put a premium on solutions that deliver immediate cost-savings while having advanced features for deduplication, low power, self-healing and thin-provisioning that can handle massive data pools.
I am very optimistic as I look ahead to 2009. It is not going to be an easy year but an interesting year. I believe we will fight hard for every win we get but we are surely well positioned to do so.
In Part 2 of this 2-part interview series with Permabit’s CEO Tom Cook, Tom will share his thoughts on how the current economic climate is affecting and even benefiting Permabit, some recent wins that Permabit has experienced and what is prompting companies to select Permabit over competing solutions.