The Quantum name has been a player in the storage market for many years, but has only recently matured into a player offering a full storage solution that stays ahead of the market.
Founded in 1980, Quantum is the leading global storage company specialising in backup, recovery and archive solutions.
In August 2006, Quantum and Advanced Digital Information Corporation (ADIC) joined forces to form the largest independent supplier of backup, recovery and archive solutions. The combined organisation is focused on developing solutions that give customers greater value and a better overall experience than either company could offer on its own.
The new Quantum has nearly 1000 sales, marketing and service employees to provide informed expertise, advice and support to companies of all sizes. In South Africa, Quantum Africa was formed out of the original ADIC office and offers presales support as well as technology expertise to the company's local resellers and OEM partners.
Jerry Mashinini, executive director of Quantum Africa, notes that as ADIC Africa the company has enjoyed considerable success serving the market for enterprise tape libraries. "The acquisition of ADIC by Quantum is a positive development for our company since it provides a far wider range of products to our partner base. Effectively, the channel centric business model employed by ADIC Africa will remain in place, but we are now able to provide technologies and solutions which enable our resellers to address market needs from the small office through to the enterprise."
Mashinini notes that Quantum Africa offers a unique advantage in that the company is a black-owned strategic partner of Quantum Corporation. "No other vendor, to date, has geared its South African operations in this manner to comply extensively with the current BBBEE legislation."
Customers' data protection and retention challenges in the enterprise as well as the mid-market are complex and rapidly evolving. The need for a category expert is essential to a successful storage solution. Because all of Quantum's resources are dedicated to backup, recovery and archive, the company offers the focused expertise, customer-driven innovation and platform independence that storage generalists, such as system OEMs and primary storage providers, cannot match.
This combination helps customers solve data protection and retention issues more easily, effectively and securely. In addition, unlike start-ups that offer point products or technologies, Quantum has the global scale and scope to support a worldwide customer base, along with a comprehensive portfolio of systems, software, devices and services.
Headed by CEO Tony de Sousa, an industry veteran (see below), Quantum Africa is set to expand its footprint in Africa with leading technology, skills and partners.
Covering the market
De Sousa says the $770 million ADIC buyout has broadened the company's market scope to tackle markets where ADIC was historically not a player. "Both brands are well known, so the combined brand equity should resonate well with customers."
De Sousa notes that the merger has been a great success as the companies' product lines complemented each other. There was little overlap, meaning no integration and migration woes for customers. "It is business as usual, but with a far more comprehensive product line."
Prior to the merger ADIC provided leading libraries and software for the enterprise market, while Quantum focused more on the entry- to mid-range level, including workgroup solutions. The combination of the two product ranges has therefore expanded the sales opportunities for the company.
De Sousa says demand for tape-based storage and archive solutions remains strong, but notes that Quantum also offers a range of disk-based storage solutions which emulate tape libraries for easy integration with enterprise software applications. "Furthermore, with the introduction of entry-level tape and disk products from Quantum, we are positioned to meet needs from 4 mm DAT drives through to enterprise libraries with thousands of slots; certainly a positive development for our partners."
In addition to the broad range of products on offer, opting for Quantum offers additional benefits to customers because all its systems are based on standards. What this means is that no matter which platforms companies use in their infrastructure and which other storage solutions they may have chosen in the past, Quantum products can easily be integrated into the infrastructure.
Quantum has the most comprehensive portfolio of disk-based backup and de-duplication/replication solutions, is the no. 1 provider of tape automation, as well as a long-standing leader in tape drives and media. In addition, Quantum's data management software for shared workflow and intelligent archiving in high-performance, long-term storage environments is easy to install and use.
In support of this claim, an April 2007 report from the Taneja Group notes: "Quantum has been quietly strengthening its position in the data protection market via internal development, acquisition, and pragmatic leveraging of its technology, as is evident in the area of data de-duplication. Through its acquisition of ADIC in August 2006, Quantum now has fundamental intellectual property in data de-duplication technology..."
Introducing the DXi
The DXi3500 and DXi5500 are a new series of disk-based backup appliances designed to operate with traditional backup software applications in midrange and data centre environments. All the models in the series feature data de-duplication technology, which eliminates redundant data to dramatically increase the length of time that users can retain their backup data sets on disk and increase the number of available recovery points. The DXi-Series products use the same technology to dramatically reduce the bandwidth needed to replicate backup data between distributed sites. This announcement provides the reader with relevant details about the new DXi3500 and DXi5500, including key messages, features and benefits, target markets, product specifications and more.
The most important things to know about these new products are:
* The DXi-Series appliances dramatically increase the power of disk to support backup, data retention, and disaster recovery planning in a broad range of midrange and data centre environments.
* They give end users a cost-effective way to retain backup data longer on fast recovery RAID systems. This technology is provided in combination with best-in-class backup performance.
* The new products enable automated disaster recovery across sites by reducing the bandwidth required to replicate backup data between distributed locations.
* They are easy to install and manage, providing NAS and VTL presentations for rapid configuration and shared deployment in a range of existing IT environments.
* The DXi-Series give users confidence in the integrity of their data through unified service and support for the entire backup solution set from Quantum.
The data de-duplication technology at the core of the DXi-Series allows users to retain dramatically more data on disk than conventional disk backup systems. The range of advantage varies with the kind of data, the backup process, data growth/change rates, and retention policies. Quantum representatives will work with reseller partners to correctly size DXi-Series models for end user environments based on those variables. Participation in a product sizing estimate with a Quantum representative is a requirement for OIP registration.
Working with others
While Quantum Africa retains the skills and expertise to support its channel partners in all their needs, the company has a strictly indirect go-to-market policy. Sithabile Storage Integration (http://www.sithabilestorage.co.za
), and Datacentrix (http://www.datacentrix.co.za
) are the company's two direct enterprise value-added resellers (eVARs).
Customers can rely on Quantum Africa's partners. The company ensures they are well skilled in Quantum technologies via its own e-learning programme. Depending on the degree of certification the partner requires, the e-learning system offers product training as well as storage concepts they will need in customer environments.
And, De Sousa notes, there are many other leading storage companies that sell products under their own brands that are, in fact, Quantum OEMs (original equipment manufacturer).
Moreover, Quantum Africa also has its own set of highly skilled people on board, even though the team in South Africa is streamlined to focus on presales. De Sousa explains that Quantum's partners hold the customer relationships and handle most of their own support, however, as a representative of Quantum, the organisation offers technical presales skills in support of its partners and resellers.
De Sousa adds that this is a trend the company intends to follow and is planning on boosting its team in the near future.
One of the human assets Quantum Africa is especially proud of is Kevin Pather (see below).
Of course, technical skills are not the reason Quantum is doing so well in southern Africa. De Sousa says the company is focused on first understanding its customers and their pain points and designing solutions to meet those needs. "Quantum does not sell storage solutions, but workable storage solutions that are able to grow as our customers grow. We are not in it for a sale, but to build long-term relationships with our customers."
Profile: Tony de Sousa, chief executive officer
After completing his National Technical Certificate in Electronics at the Johannesburg Technical College, he joined a major multinational business solutions and office automation company as a workshop technician.
He was then recruited by a leading locally-based IT company to specialise in mainframe computer technology and quickly excelled in this field by becoming one of the country’s leading system 3270 specialists with extensive experience in networking, hardware support, connectivity, SNA, SDLC and telecommunications.
After almost 10 years he was invited to join a specialist data storage company in a major information technology group where he started shifting his career focus from pure engineering to sales. Within the group he held the positions of sales manager of the client server division and VERITAS Software product manager. In these roles he was also a key member of the enterprise storage sales and support team.
In September 2000, after almost 20 years of experience in enterprise-level data storage and management, he was invited to join a major data storage company as pre-sales consultant. In this position he played a major role in helping to build the company’s enterprise storage division.
He was recruited by ADIC Africa in May 2004.
Profile: Jerry Mashinini
Jerry Mashinini is a graduate of De Montfort University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and an MBA, he also holds Masters and Honours degrees in Information Technology from the Pretoria Technikon and a National Diploma in Computer Data Processing from the Technikon of Northern Gauteng.
Jerry worked as a senior programmer at the Mpumulanga Provincial Department of Finance. He then transferred to the Office of the Premier where he was responsible for planning. In 1994, he moved to the Mpumulanga Department of housing as a senior administrative officer.
In 1995, he was appointed assistant director: Information Technology (financial systems) in the Department of State Expenditure and he held this post until 1997 when he has appointed chief adviser: Information Technology, in the department of Public Service and Administration. He held senior positions in Information Technology in the department of Transport, and then in the SA Post Office.
In 2002, Jerry was appointed senior manager Service Delivery at South African Revenue Services, a post he held until he decided to leave the public sector and join the Sithabile Technology Group in January 2005.
He has lectured at Wits Business School, teaching senior executives about ICT management and value, and at Technikon Pretoria, on a range of ICT-related subjects. Mashinini has also served as a supervisor for Master of Business Administration students within ICT.
His company, Odirile IT Holdings, has a 47,5% interest in the Sithabile Technology Group (STG), a black-owned holding company that operates through subsidiaries that are carefully positioned in focused markets in the information and communications technology sector in the SA economy.
Profile: Kevin Pather
Kevin Pather is a 12-year veteran of the storage industry. He started working for Quantum and moved on to other storage platforms before realising his lifelong dream and returning to work for Quantum, the 'company of choice' according to Pather.
Pather is only one of a highly skilled team of Quantum certified engineers South Africa, making his skills invaluable to regional customers. Not only does Pather hold the highest Quantum certifications in South Africa, he is also passionate about the company and its products.
DXI: Quantum DXi3500 and DXi5500 lead the pack
Quantum has unveiled a new Validation Report authored by ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) Lab focused on Quantum’s DXi-Series disk backup and replication appliances. The Validation Report verifies a number of clear customer benefits provided by Quantum’s DXi-Series appliances and is based on ESG Lab’s hands-on testing of Quantum’s latest disk-based backup data de-duplication and remote replication offerings.
According to analysts at ESG, the kind of data de-duplication technology in the Quantum DXi-Series appliances will be one of this decade’s most important new data protection advances. By eliminating redundant data, the technology should allow customers to cost-effectively retain from 10 to 50 times more backup data on fast recovery disk than conventional disk-based approaches. Data de-duplication also makes the use of wide area network-based replication between locations a practical tool to protect against site loss and to reduce requirements for the management of removable media in distributed environments.
“Quantum is a recognised leader in disk-based backup and has demonstrated it can leverage its significant customer-facing resources and global reach to continue expanding its presence in this rapidly growing market,” said Brian Garrett, technical director of ESG Lab. “To verify some of the key customer benefits of Quantum’s DXi-Series appliances, ESG Lab tested multiple units using production data sets and a testing approach that reflected typical user scenarios. In sum, we were quite impressed with Quantum’s latest disk-based backup offerings – the DXi-Series’ core features and functions clearly provide tremendous benefits for a broad range of end user backup and retention environments.”
ESG Lab Validation Report highlights from the Quantum DXi-Series testing include:
* Industry leading appliance-based performance: ESG Lab validated Quantum’s DXi-Series performance of up to 290 GB/hr for the DXi3500 and 800 GB/hr for the DXi5500. ESG Lab noted peak DXi3500 multistream performance exceeded 356 GB/hr, well above Quantum’s stated performance specification.
* Practical and efficient remote replication for disaster recovery: ESG Lab tested multiple disaster recovery scenarios and verified efficient and reliable, bi-directional backup and recovery of data over a WAN between DXi-Series appliances situated hundreds of miles apart.
* Quick and simple integration without changes to existing backup processes: ESG Lab was able to perform backups smoothly and easily using Veritas NetBackup and the DXi-Series virtual tape library (VTL) interface only 10 minutes after beginning configuration. Emulation of library functions and software compatibility were flawless.
* Flexibility to present multiple interfaces through a single appliance: ESG Lab successfully performed simultaneous backups, de-duplicating data to a single DXi3500 across Fibre Channel VTL, iSCSI VTL and NAS (CIFS) interfaces.
* Data reduction capabilities of up to 50:1: ESG Lab verified the ability of DXi-Series appliances to produce very large-scale data reduction, using production data sets to model a 50:1 de-duplication advantage over conventional disk backup systems in just over a month of backup events.
Quantum has also announced the introduction of the DXi 7500 which will offer its customers de-duplication technology in an Enterprise VTL while retaining unique features like ‘Direct path to tape’ and a performance of 8 TB per hour. The DXi 7500 will also be the first available product that will support ‘In-line’ or ‘Post process’ de-duplication.
“We cannot wait for this product to become GA. It will further widen the gap between Quantum and its competitors, says Quantum Africa CEO, Tony de Sousa.
Taneja Group opinion
We are extremely optimistic about the data protection market over the next five years. We believe a metamorphosis is underway and we are at the very beginning stages of it. At the very core of this is data de-duplication technologies. Through its internal evolution, acquisition of ADIC and speed in productising and licensing its de-duplication technology, Quantum has positioned itself as a formidable purveyor of data protection products, and a company we would advise customers to definitely consider as they look to meet the challenges they face in this evolving market.