Feeds

ProStor makes new money from old data

Removable disk tech lights up the archives

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

ProStor sells these appliances through a 2-tier channel, and has pursued software certifications from Arkivio, Bridgend, CommVault, Crossroads, Kazeon, Quest and QStar so that archival data moving applications can use the InfiniVault as a hardware platform.

ProStore's marketing VP, Buzz Walker, goes into company and product booster mode when talking about the appliance: "It's forty times cheaper than regular RAID drive arrays at the 20TB capacity level. It's half the cost of tape." That is, when you take into account drive format migration and other matters.

InfiniVault sales in the first quarter exceeded sales in all of 2008, the company says. Second quarter sales were twice the first quarter number and, in this third quarter, InfiniVault sales are 125 per cent of the second and looking to be three times the first quarter sales level. Naturally, actual unit numbers were not quoted, but ProStor is not yet profitable so they are not that high.

Georgis and Walker talk about potentially larger RDX libraries, ones with hundreds of slots, and suggest that robotics might be needed then, presumably to transfer cartridges from the entry ports into storage slots. They say ProStor would not manufacture such libraries itself, indicating that existing tape library and robotics manufacturers might do it.

Why is ProStor doing comparatively better than Copan? Georgis said: "Copan has a technology looking for a reason to exist. You still have a big disk farm."

That doesn't seem right. It's possibly the case that Copan is selling to enterprises while ProStor is in the SME space. Copan's potential customers haven't found a mission-critical need for its products in sufficient numbers, particularly in the recession. ProStor's small and medium businesses, facing backup sessions taking too long and restoring files the typical tape pain, have taken to RDX and, latterly, InfiniVault.

It is possible that Copan's prospective customers simply went the de-duping storage array route to solve their lengthening backup time problems, leaving Copan high-and-dry. The small and medium enterprise customers served by ProStor do not have that luxury.

ProStor is lucky; there is no other competitive removable hard drive product. It can use commodity 2.5-inch hard drives in a shock-proof case for the cartridges and there are none of the drive format generation problems which bedevil tape, with the need for backward compatibility and expensive drive products. Any capacity 2.5-inch RDX cartridge can fit in any RDX dock. It's simple and straightforward.

Customers are locked into ProStor's products, albeit with competing RDX manufacturers and distributors for the InfiniVault. The thirst for capacity seems unending. Its poor customers are being assaulted with various compliance-type regimes and the need for legal hold facilities on the one hand, and slow tape being unable to backup their hundreds of thousands, even millions and tens of millions of files in the time available. REV doesn't fit the bill, tape is out, optical storage a joke for the majority of them, and de-duping storage arrays offering no offsite cover unless you get a second remote one and replicate.

ProStor with RDX seem to be in the right place at the right time, to have a clear run for the next few years and to have sewn up the system OEM channel. It's building its business on the decay of low-end tape. If HP and Sony don't bring out DAT 320, then that says HP has seen the low-end tape future, and it's removable disk. Tandberg and Imation will both be delighted: Tandberg has a near-wrecked business to rebuild and Imation is seeing optical media revenues not replacing the glory days of tape media revenues at all. Both need a new media success.

All ProStor has to do is not foul up the execution, keep on developing the products, look forward to the IPO and smile sweetly at Plasmon and Copan's venture capitalists, as that day when they start to pocket the profits draws nearer. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.