Virtual-Strategy Interview with Joe Paquet

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VSM: What challenges are customers dealing with when it comes to storage, intelligence and analytics?

JP: Complexity. In order to understand the data they store, IT professionals or business experts must purchase, align and manage multiple applications that parse, inspect, process and visualize data in ways that add value. For many of my customers this has been a stumbling block.

VSM: Do you hear your customers talk about unstructured data? How do you define unstructured data and what role does unstructured data play in storage as of now?

JP: Yes, I hear customers talking about unstructured data, and I generally think of unstructured data as the files stored across multiple shares, log files, or just about any data that isn’t neatly organized in a database or spreadsheet. The volume of this type of data is growing rapidly – far outpacing the storage growth of traditional structured data.

VSM: What specific challenges are your customers facing when it comes to unstructured data?

JP: From an IT perspective, customers are noting that this unstructured data is difficult to manage. It is often a black box to our customers, meaning it is very difficult to understand what, if any, useful information exists in this data, or whether anyone is even using it. The truth is that this data has implications for organizations that monitor storage usage for “showback”, as well as those that handle sensitive data. For example, many customers simply aren’t able to answer questions such as: “Who is using the most storage space in your organization?” or “Are there unencrypted credit card numbers stored in a public file share?” If such organizations could manage and analyze the unstructured data in their storage systems, they could find the answers to such questions.

VSM: How will storage and analytics evolve to manage unstructured data? How will these changes affect IT infrastructures?

JP: The massive growth in unstructured data is going to require a new generation of tools to manage it. As these tools emerge and bring together the roles of storage and intelligence, the role of IT can begin to have new conversations with business leaders around leveraging existing data.

VSM: What will these solutions look like? Are there certain market sizes that will benefit from these types of solutions?

JP: These solutions will be rooted in storage, but they will not be your average storage solutions. These smart storage solutions will be able to provide insight into the data they store, enabling the data to talk. Such insight into organizational data should be available to customers of all sizes, not just large organizations who make massive investments in infrastructure and data science teams. While enterprises have already made these investments, smaller organizations are looking for solutions that are appropriate for their needs, but don’t burden the IT organization. For our customers, every application has overhead in resources, as well as time spent managing and monitoring, so applications that meet multiple needs are important.

VSM: What do you hear about unstructured data, intelligence and analytics as far as the channel is concerned? Is there a need in the channel for these types of solutions?

JP: As customers begin to realize just how fast unstructured data is growing and hear about the promise of analytics based on it, the demand is building. From the channel perspective, bringing together multiple un-integrated tools into a single pane of glass view makes for a complex sale. Customers prefer integrated solutions that meet their needs.

VSM: Why did Axis Business Solutions join the DataGravity early-access channel program? What are the most valuable benefits?

JP: We are trusted advisors to our customer base. When we heard what DataGravity was going to build, we saw how we could help our customers stay ahead of the curve with a product that can give them an advantage in the marketplace.

VSM: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

JP: Companies should embrace this technology and take the time to evaluate it. DataGravity will transform how mid-size organizations view, assess and utilize their data. Finally, we can measure and apply (dollar) metrics to data use. In our discussions with customers through the early-access channel program, we saw the “lights come on” when presenting DataGravity, much like when virtualization first hit the market. Customers will make the paradigm shift from making technology work, to making technology work for them.