1. What's the biggest opportunity for the channel in the next 12 months?
The biggest opportunity for the channel is to speed up applications that use file storage. The storage industry has traditionally improved performance with faster storage and file systems, whereas the biggest opportunity is in removing the file system latency created by processing metadata requests.
Metadata is information about the data that is useful for applications and end-users, such as who created it, where it's stored and when it was last accessed.
However, about 90 percent of all requests to a storage system or cloud are metadata, which has a big impact on latency and performance for today's most data-driven applications and environments - from AI and machine learning to bioinformatics and DevOps.
The more files these applications generate, the greater the metadata activity, which ultimately causes application performance to tank. We believe separating metadata from data can slash latency up to 50 times, which is a huge opportunity for systems integrators, resellers and solution providers to open up new markets and use cases that require high-performance access to data.
2. What will be the biggest challenge for the channel in the next 12 months?
The challenge will be for the channel partners to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive B2B technology industry that has made incremental gains in performance. How will partners stand out from sameness?
To be trusted advisors, the key for the channel is to identify innovation that is truly unique and work together with their vendor partners to deliver new solutions that finally solve decades-old problems. For instance, they can apply emerging techniques that manage metadata more efficiently to accelerate performance, which ultimately results in improved productivity and time-to-market.
3. What's the biggest disruptive force in the industry today?
We are entering the era of metadata, which is the biggest disruptor in the industry. New workflows, such as AI, are very different from traditional workflows such as digital media storage. Today's workflows generate and consume billions of small files and are performance sensitive. Moreover, they dramatically shift IT operations and workflow dynamics.
Lots of small files means lots of file metadata to read and directories to scan. In fact, it is not uncommon to have over 90 percent of the actual input/output of these workflows be requests for data about the data, or metadata. In AI/ML for example, expensive GPU cycles and researcher time are wasted waiting for storage systems to process metadata requests.
These new workflows require metadata performance that traditional file systems simply cannot deliver. The faster the metadata requests are processed, the faster the application performance. Storage vendors tend to only advertise their aggregate performance and not mention their metadata latency, which is the key to turbo-charging modern workflows.
4. What does it mean for your company to win this award?
This award has energised our entire company. We are excited and humbled to be the first to win the Vendor Innovation award. The honor validates our belief that a metadata-first approach can help organizations access critical data faster, solve strategic business problems for end users and create new, repeatable growth opportunities for the channel.
5. What has been your personal highlight for your business in the last 12 months?
I've been bowled over by the enthusiastic reception we're getting from customers and partners who recognise the huge difference that metadata acceleration can have on application performance and cost reduction.
At a recent supercomputing event, one attendee said his national research lab's metadata "sucks," and that metadata management can help drastically reduce the time it takes his team to complete software builds. This just goes to show that our game-changing technology can solve big performance problems for important applications that are shaping the future.
Some say performance, others say money but it may be systems and processes that carry the day
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