Quantum are nearly “the last man standing” when it comes to the old school of what were the tape and tape automation companies. Over the years one by one they have disappeared, consumed by acquisition into larger companies. The biggest of StorageTek is now consumed into Oracle, others that disappeared over the years include ADIC, Colorado Memory Systems, Exabyte, Irwin. There are still a few around such as Spectra Logic who seem to doing reasonable well and Overland who just acquired Tandberg but the jury is out on whether this merger of two largely failing companies will be enough to turn their fortunes.
Quantum have not been acquired and are unique amongst tape companies in that they have managed to adapt, evolving their product line to meet the changing needs of backup and long term storage in the enterprise.
DSA caught up with Jim Simon, Senior Director of Marketing, Asia-Pacific at Quantum and tried to find out more about why Quantum has staying power that others have not.
DSA - We are seeing a lot of changes in what has traditionally been your competitive landscape. Most of your old competitors have been consumed into larger companies, and very recently Overland acquired Tandberg Data. Whats your view on this landscape and how have Quantum manage to survive where all others could not?
Jim - Quantum began in Silicon Valley more than 30 years ago. Over the years we have had a continuous focus on helping organisations solve their storage challenges. With a substantial investment in R&D we have been able to offer unique solutions which is what differentiates Quantum and is why the company has steadily grown and even acquired many other companies along the way.
DSA - Quantum appears to have been successful in transforming itself over the years. How would you describe your technology and value proposition as it stands today?
Jim - Quantum is a leading expert in end-to-end scale-out storage and data protection, providing solutions for sharing, archiving and accessing digital assets over the entire data lifecycle. From small businesses to major enterprises, more than 100,000 customers have trusted Quantum to address their most demanding content workflow challenges. With Quantum, customers can Be Certain™ they have a comprehensive storage foundation to maximize the value of their data, making it accessible whenever and wherever needed, offering indefinite retention and reducing total cost and complexity.
DSA - With transformation your competitive landscape also changes, who do you as your competitors today?
Jim - Our competitors are generally the other storage industry companies. There are storage-centric companies who sell primary, secondary, and tertiary storage. Usually primary storage is disk-based. Secondary storage can be disk or tape. Tertiary storage is usually tape but could be object storage too.
DSA - We are interested in the fact you carry Tape and Deduplication, as far as we can see Quantum is the only traditional tape company that also has a deduplication offering, how do you position the two technologies and is there really room for both?
Jim - Quantum’s patented data deduplication technology is embedded in our DXi-series disk-based backup appliances and our StorNext file management solutions. Deduplication and tape actually work nicely together. Many organisations find value in doing daily and weekly backups to our high-performance DXi disk-based backup appliances. The deduplication allows organisations to reduce their required storage capacity by up to 95%. Moreover, this incredible reduction in data enables replication between DXi appliances whether in the same data centre or across continents which provides a great deal of protection against disaster. Many organisations deploy DXi in multiple remote locations and replicate back to headquarters, eliminating the need for local staff to manually manage tapes. That said , tape comes into play because most of these organisations want to copy backups to tape for additional offsite disaster protection. They often do weekly full and monthly full backups.
DSA- As you look across South Asia, do you find the technology adoption when it comes to Storage is different across the region (e.g. Is tape usage higher in some countries than others?).
Jim - Technology adoption is fairly similar. The main factor that drives technology adoption is need. Large organisations, no matter where they are located, have similar challenges and needs. That said, some regions are more prone to natural disasters than others which makes some technologies in higher demand. For instance, Quantum’s DXi-series of disk-based backup appliances include data deduplication and replication. They are ideal for replicating between sites whether the sites are in another building, another town, or even another country.
DSA - We know from speaking to Quantum before, you have a very interesting take on Big Data and what it means to your company. We hear Quantum describe itself as "Big Data Management" company can you explain what this means?
Jim - Quantum also refers to this area as Scale-out Storage. Quantum has unrivalled experience, technology, and an integrated solution set that has proven effective in managing some of the world's most demanding Scale-out Storage environments. Helping organizations store, manage and protect massive files and petabytes of data whether it is video content being converted from analog to digital for long-term preservation or genome .BAM files that researchers want to keep "forever,". We continue to pioneer innovation and value in deduplication, file systems, integrated disk and tape storage and archive.
As customers' ability to generate new types of valuable data expands, there is an increasing need to retain data and maintain visibility and access to it. However, keeping all that data on high-performance disk is proving cost-prohibitive and difficult to manage. On the other hand, manually copying data to separate, offline archives effectively puts valuable data out of reach and can limit their ability to leverage it. That is why Quantum takes a holistic, lifecycle approach to data management and data protection. When projects are current, data access is direct from the fast tier of storage. Then, as time passes and data is accessed less frequently, our StorNext technology automatically stores it to less-expensive disk or tape tier on a policy-driven basis.
DSA - Is Archive becoming more or less important in South East Asia?
Jim - No question, archive is becoming more important, even mission-critical. This evolution is due to a shift in the value of data. An IT organisation’s mission once was focused on protection against data loss. Now the mission has expanded to include the “forever archive” as organisations seek to extract more value from their data to deliver more custom, data-driven products and services today and in the future (I.e. monetisaiton of data) . This, in turn, requires that data be kept secure, indefinitely and accessible to those who need it. That’s why new technologies like Lattus are so important to our future. Its an Object based Ssorage solution which provides unlimited scalability, up to hundreds of petabytes of long term archive data.
DSA - Is Quantum still focused on protecting Data, or have you evolved in a primary storage company, and which is more key to your business currently?
Jim - Quantum is focused on data protection and archive. As the need to keep more (if not all) data for longer periods (frequently indefinitely) grows, the cost of primary storage is skyrocketing in terms of upfront costs, network bandwidth costs, protection costs, and management costs. Quantum helps customers reduce their primary storage costs by approximately one-third by matching the value of data to the most appropriate storage tier.