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Overland's top tech guy: Great things ahead

Barrall talks tape

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We had the chance to talk to Geoff Barrall, the founder of BlueArc and Data Robotics, about his work at Overland Storage, where he is charge of product engineering.

He came into Overland after having been his own boss for two decades but "realised that the challenges are very similar and found my feet". CEO Eric Kelly and sales and marketing VP Jillian Mansolf are great to work with, and "I have the right team in place (including some of my old friends from BlueArc and Data Robotics) and everybody is working really well together".

He couldn't discuss the product roadmap in any specific terms at all, but he did say "it's the most exciting I've ever had", and discussed it in a little more detail.

"On the SNAP Server side of the business it's public knowledge that we acquired the Maxiscale scale-out file system which we're excited to integrate and deliver.

"I've also been working on a technology that really takes what we started with Data Robotics firmly into the business arena."

Tape market large and growing

"As for tape it's really exciting for me to be working in that area. My Phd is in Cybernetics and so the fact that I'm actually responsible for delivering robotics for a living now ties right back to that. The tape market is large and growing but Overland has work to do to regain its former share.

"Fortunately very little innovation has been applied to this market for some time (by any vendor) and so it's a great area to be creative and I have one of the few teams remaining in the world with the skills to create the necessary technology."

There's a surprise. Tape product engineering developments haven't been switched off. HP, IBM, Quantum, SpectraLogic and other tape product suppliers can look forward to some interesting competition.

"We also introduced two SAN products," said Barrall. "These seem to be doing well and it's exciting to have a product portfolio to work with that spans NAS, SAN, Archive Disk and Tape. Lots of room for synergy there.

Should people be concerned out the length of time it's taking to produce products from his engineering department? "Anybody who knows engineering will know that it take around 18 months to deliver something new and around 24 for something great. I'm working on that kind of time frame and am very excited about 2011 and beyond." ®

Bootnote

This writer owns stock in Overland and his future ability to retire to a private island in the Caribbean may well depend upon the stock's progress.

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