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Hifn interviewed; iSCSI Storage Virtualization discussed

We had spoken to John Matze sometime back when they released their Swarm Appliance for VMware. To get to know more about the Swarm Appliance, I'd suggest you click here. They are quietly selling as well

John's profile:

VP of Business Development
John Matze previously was the founder and CEO of Siafu Software (acquired by Hifn in 2007), where his mission was to develop storage appliances that offer enterprise-level functionality and encryption for small to medium sized companies. Matze, one of CRN Magazine's 2003 Top 25 Innovators, is also one of the original authors of the iSCSI protocol. He has over 15 years of storage software experience including: vice president & CTO, Overland Storage; director of software, Veritas Software; and principal architect, STAC. Matze has also been the creator of many successful products including: Overland Storage REO products, Okapi ipXcelerator, STAC Replica for NetWare and APC PowerChute UPS Monitoring Software.

John, can you please tell us about HiFn?

Hifn designs develops and markets iSCSI based storage appliances, purpose-built semiconductor Applied Services Processors (ASPs) and PCI based data reduction and data security card solutions to protect, accelerate and reduce information traveling over intelligent networks and stored on tape or disk dives.

Please tell us something about you Swarm IP SAN Appliance?

Hifn's line of Swarm IP SAN appliances deliver the benefits of storage networking to small- and mid-sized businesses and enterprises including encryption, storage consolidation, centralized management, automatic backup, high availability and seamless integration with the Microsoft operating environment. The Hifn Swarm is an ideal alternative to today's costly and far more complex fibre channel products.

Why would I propose Hifn to a potential client?

The breadth of the company's solutions places Hifn at the forefront of satisfying the most critical storage and security issues within today's networking environments. Hifn's iSCSI appliances are designed with data security in mind and are offered at a very competitive price compared to similar iSCSI appliances with equal features and benefits.

What is your take on iSCSI? Will it really take off as projected?

"The Year of iSCSI" has been reported since 2002, so we don't want to call 2008 "The Year of iSCSI". But new drivers like server consolidation and virtualization (VMware, Virtual Iron, etc.) as well as the elimination of DAS, green initiatives, SAS architecture combined with shrinking IT infrastructures and FC Implementation difficulties and cost are pointing into the direction of a significant iSCSI pick-up in the next 1-2 years.

Who are your competitors?

Hifn's iSCSI appliances are designed for the small to medium size businesses and enterprise. Within that space we compete against EqualLogic, Lefthand and some of the lower-end arrays of HP and Dell.

What is your differentiated strategy?

Hifn's differentiator is "secure storage". All our appliances include data encryption and find a sweet spot in remote offices due to secure remote replication. Verticals that need to pay special attention to compliance issues have found a solution to their fears with Hifn's encrypted storage appliances.

Your plans for EMEA and Asia, can you tell us something about that?

Hifn is planning on expanding into EMEA and Asia with it's appliance business in 2008.

What about innovation, are you facing any challenges keeping up with it?

Not really. Innovation moves slow in the storage industry. It is a very conservative environment and new technologies take time to be accepted. I believe we are already leading in a number of areas including encryption at rest and hardware data deduplication technology

Will we see a typical Hifn Virtual Appliance, sans hardware?

We don’t normally comment on future products. However, I can say the virtualization market is huge and we are looking at ways that we can optimize storage management and advanced virtualization of storage.

Are you coming to Europe for VMworld 2008?

Unfortunately we will not be attending VMworld Europe in February, but we will be ready to attend European shows in Fall and early 2009.


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