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ProStor CEO interviewed; The next great idea in Storage discussed

Hi Steve, please tell us a bit about yourself?

My background: I have spent about 25 years of my career in the data storage industry and was one of the founders of Exabyte Corp. Before founding ProStor, I was the CEO of Network Photonics, a telecom equipment manufacturer. I hold about 20 U.S. and international patents.

Tell us a bit about ProStor, how did it come to life?

The ProStor founders have a long history in the backup and archive markets. ProStor Systems came to life after recognizing that disk-to-disk backup solutions would not be able to replace tape until there was a form of removable media for offsite storage for disaster recovery and for long-term archive at low cost. This prompted the development of RDX® removable disk technology.

Tell us about InfiniVault Appliance?

InfiniVault™ is the first storage system to take advantage of RDX removable disk media. InfiniVault is an all-disk intelligent archive appliance that uses RDX removable media in conjunction with fixed disk to provide integrated online and offline storage for long-term data preservation and regulatory compliance. InfiniVault features infinite archive capacity, full regulatory compliance features (data retention management, WORM file system and media, security, compression and encryption), ediscovery support (indexing and search) and data protection in an all-in-one appliance. InfiniVault is designed for small-to-medium size enterprises with a price tag starting at US $30,000 for 5 TB of native online capacity. InfiniVault scales up to 39 TB. The storage capacities of InfiniVault’s product line will continue to increase as RDX removable media capacities increase. InfiniVault has been named a finalist for the 2007 Product of the Year awards as selected by judges and editors of and Storage Magazine (Backup Hardware category). The winners will be announced on Feb. 5.

What is RDX technology and what are its benefits?

RDX is a removable disk cartridge media that combines the performance, random-access and reliability of HDD with the removability, ruggedness and low-cost archival storage that users have always depended on from tape. The RDX cartridge has a tape-like form factor that makes it easy to handle, transport and store. RDX removable media allows IT managers with backup procedures designed around tape to migrate to disk-based backup without having to change their standard operating procedures. RDX removable disk also eliminates the problem of format obsolescence and data migration that has always existed with tape technology. The capacity roadmap for RDX technology is entirely contained in the cartridge, not in the drive (sometimes called the loading dock). Today there are 5 different cartridge capacities in the market and they are all fully read-write interchangeable with all RDX drives. New cartridges are introduced every nine months to increase cartridge capacity - all completely compatible with the installed base to ensure no obsolescence. Through an extensive set of tests by an independent product reliability laboratory, RDX media has been proven to provide a 30-year archival shelf life.

What is your EMEA and Asian presence?

RDX docks and media are available today in North America, EMEA and Asia through the systems integrators and RDX manufacturers who market in those locations. InfiniVault is a new product and is only available in North America now. ProStor will expand into EMEA after this year.

What about standardization, are you getting there?

We have standardized RDX technology, not by standards body, but by licensing multiple manufacturers to make and market the products (Tandberg Data and Imation). In addition there are 4 major systems integrators (Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, NEC and Fujitsu Ltd) currently selling servers and workstations with RDX removable disk technology integrated into them. Every major ISV selling backup applications natively supports RDX technology today. Research firm IDC issued a market report last week. RDX technology had about 90% market share in 2007. With major new OEMs in the process of adopting RDX technology, we expect the market share to increase in 2008, making RDX the de facto industry standard.

Is it hard to get those OEM deals and building an eco-system around your technology?

In the beginning, it was very difficult to build the eco-system around RDX technology because it was a new product in a new category from a new company. Over time, the market success of RDX removable disk storage technology has made this much easier.

What more can we expect out of ProStor in the coming months?

You should expect to see lots of news from ProStor in the coming year related to both RDX removable disk technology and InfiniVault. ProStor Systems was named to the Byte and Switch “Top 10 Startups to Watch” List in 2007.

InfiniVault will add a remote archive feature in a future release.


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