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Komprise COO: Partners Can Drive Services Revenue Around Revamped Data Management Offering

Joseph F. Kovar

‘We’re a product company. Like I said, just to deploy and use our product, you don’t really need services. But for all these value-added things, partners can add services, best practices guidance and things like that. And we don’t offer that,’ says Komprise COO Krishna Subramanian.

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Managing All That Data

Unstructured data management and mobility technology developer Komprise Tuesday unveiled the latest major upgrade to its Komprise Intelligent Data Management offering. The new version of Komprise Intelligent Data Management brings with it a new self-service capability to let data specialists, line-of-business data owners and departments monitor usage information about their data, mine it for trends, tag and search data, and tier and delete data.

The new technology comes as IT people in typical businesses are increasingly tasked with providing increased services to their users but are not being given the additional resources to make it happen, said Krishna Subramanian, COO of Campbell, Calif.-based Komprise.

“IT is being asked to do more with less, and it is becoming more of a shared service,” Subramanian told CRN. “There’s maybe a few central IT people who have to help all these different departmental users. And departmental users already have data in the cloud and in the data center. And quite often in the departments and IT, that data is on parallel paths. IT is trying to manage infrastructure, but the departmental users couldn’t care less about the infrastructure. They want to get value from the data. And they’ve worked independently. We’re bringing it together.”

[Related: 2022 Storage 100: Who’s Got Your Backup?]

Komprise is aiming to make data management work seamlessly across on-premises and cloud infrastructures, Subramanian said. This, she said, is because while storage and cloud vendors also provide data management tools, those tools are typically focused on their own tools, creating data management silos.

“Every decision you make about your data, you want information to make the best decision. ... Data is measured in petabytes now, and it’s scattered everywhere,” she said. “So you need an independent data management layer, and you need analytics plus data movement plus search all in one solution. [We offer] one solution across these different environments and a systematic way to do these things that have been normally very siloed, scattered and manual in the past.”

As the amount of data businesses collect and use grows, so does the need for better ways to manage it. Here is a look at what Komprise is doing in this area.

What is Komprise, and what are some changes the company has seen this year?

Komprise is a data management cloud service. And by ‘data management,’ we mean we focus on file and object data, basically unstructured data. Users can just point our service at any file storage in the cloud or in a data center, and Komprise gives analytics on the data. It shows how much is hot, how much is cold, how much it’s costing, who’s using it, things like that. And then you can systematically migrate data or replicate data through Komprise. So it’s not only analytics, it does data mobility. And the unique thing about Komprise is, it works through standard interfaces. It doesn’t put the data in any proprietary format. It’s all kept in native format. So we can put a file in the cloud, and it looks like a file. You can use it as a file, but it’s a native object. You can directly use the object. So Komprise is all of that. It does analytics, it does a lot of data management, it helps our customers save money on unstructured data storage and backups. We typically save 70 percent or more of costs for customers. And it helps customers transform and modernize their data infrastructure to go to the cloud and things like that.

Our focus has always been, let’s help our customers optimize their costs. But through that process, we also help them get more value out of their data because ultimately, why are you keeping all this data around if you can’t use it? And so we’ve been adding more capabilities to help our customers search for all their data. When Komprise does its analytics, it also indexes all the data. And so it gives a single way to search for data across all clouds, and across all file and object storage. And this year, we added something called Smart Data Workflows, which actually helps you not only search and find data, but then feed it into a data lake, or delete it because it’s out of compliance, or quarantine it for ransomware protection. So we added those kind of workflow capabilities, where you can query and then build the actual workflow into Komprise, and Komprise will manage it.

What’s new this month?

We’re extending that workflow capability to enable IT to collaborate with departments. And that’s important because at a lot of our customers, IT is being asked to do more with less, and it is becoming more of a shared service. There’s maybe a few central IT people who have to help all these different departmental users. And departmental users already have data in the cloud and in the data center. And quite often in the departments and IT, that data is on parallel paths. IT is trying to manage infrastructure, but the departmental users couldn’t care less about the infrastructure. They want to get value from the data. And they’ve worked independently. We’re bringing it together. So we’re telling IT people they have all this analytics with an index of all the data. We are putting into the capability where they can provide a role to their departmental users through Komprise where they can self-service themselves. But there are guardrails that can be put in so a departmental user can come in, search the data, tag the data, find the data they need, maybe because they want to run an analytics application in the cloud. They can do all those things, but they can’t ever delete the data. They can’t ever move it off the system without approval. So that kind of workflow collaboration where IT can enable more self-service for users, but users get access just to the data and the functions that they should have access to. That’s what we’re adding to the product now.

Prior to this, if somebody wanted to do that type of an operation with that coordination of resources, how would they have to do it?

So traditionally, what happens in companies is IT might generate some reports from each of their environments on how much data each department is using. Then they will email these reports to the departments to do showbacks. Departments will look at that, and then they may do nothing with it. And if departments want to search and find data, they’ll do it on their own. They don’t go back to IT for it. So historically, there has not been a very good collaboration between IT and departments. And there’s not been an easy way to do it. That’s why there’s so much shadow IT in the cloud. Why so much of the cloud is like the Wild West, and IT doesn’t have much control over what users are doing there. So it has not been very easy to collaborate with users. And it was manual, not systematic, and so it was very hard to enforce policies and was hard to bill for it. We’re changing all of that by providing this ability through the product to create a role and to delegate certain functions to the users, and for IT to see what they’re doing. And then to enable data management with tight collaboration now systematically. And this helps things like easier showback, more interactive tagging and enriching of data, feeding data to the applications in the cloud, ease mergers and acquisitions. If a company is divesting an asset, it has to segment the data and move it off. You can now get your departments to help you with that and say, ‘Hey, you guys know what belongs to you, help us tag all that data, then IT will make sure it goes to the right entity.’ Legal can get involved and see what’s happening. All this collaboration is very hard to do manually, and we are now automating it.

Are any of your competitors offering this system capability?

No. Storage vendors have some reporting from within their own storage platform. And even cloud vendors have some reporting. For instance, AWS can generate some reports for what data you have in AWS, and you could email those reports to departments, if you want. But it’s limited, and it’s not across all platforms. And it doesn’t offer collaboration. Historically, people have thought of analytics and reporting as separate from actually doing something with data. They thought of it differently. We are saying, data management is analytics-driven. Every decision you make about your data, you want information to make the best decision. That’s what customers are telling us. Data is measured in petabytes now, and it’s scattered everywhere. So you need an independent data management layer, and you need analytics plus data movement plus search all in one solution. That‘s what’s different about us. That is one solution across these different environments, and a systematic way to do these things that have been normally very siloed, scattered and manual in the past.

How big is the market for this type of technology? Have you quantified it?

It’s actually massive. On the infrastructure side, it’s about $18 billion. And if you add unstructured data analytics, it’s $90 billion more. So it’s a $108 billion market, which is really big. And that $108 billion includes cloud infrastructure, storage infrastructure and data management. We believe there’s a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for us. That’s why our investors are investing in us. And that’s why we are building this business.

Where do those numbers come from?

IDC And Gartner. We got it from a few different reports, but $18 billion for data management is I think pretty reasonable. Gartner and IDC both have similar numbers. The $90 billion for unstructured data and analytics is also a combination of all the different reports.

We’ve also been creating a survey for unstructured data management. Some of the data that drives our own decisions is coming not just from our customers and what they say, but from the survey that we run. This is the second year we ran a survey. What was really interesting for us is data volumes are growing. There are more customers managing 5 petabytes or more data than ever before. And I think 44 percent of the respondents said that they spent more than 30 percent of their IT budget on unstructured data storage and management, which is a significant amount of dollars. And over 65 percent said they want better self-service for users. So our themes are resonating with what we’re hearing from the market.

Your business is 100 percent through indirect channels. How do channel partners make money working with Komprise?

We have a very strong program. We offer deal registration. So register the deal, we give permission on the deal and we give margin on the service itself. So when they sell the service, they make margin on it. But on top of that, with data management, customers often want guidance from partners. They want to know is the network configured correctly for the cloud? Which data center should I start with when moving my data? How do I manage backup in this environment? So there’s a lot of services opportunities for partners as well. Our product itself is very easy to use. There are now services for our product, but partners can offer services related to data management. Partners basically are resellers of our software. And we offer training for partners. We have something called the Komprise technical professionals training program. And they can actually offer added services on top of our product.

Does Komprise do any services for customers or are services all done through the channel?

All done through the channel. We’re a product company. Like I said, just to deploy and use our product, you don’t really need services. But for all these value-added things, partners can add services, best practices guidance, and things like that. And we don’t offer that. We offer basic training, and partners offer the services.

Who are some of your competitors?

Our competition honestly tends to be more of the siloed solutions. The cloud vendors and the storage players have some pieces of what we do. That’s who customers tend to think of first when they are looking at us. But most of them are also our partners. So we are an advanced tier partner with AWS. We also partner with [Microsoft] Azure. Actually, Azure funds the use of Komprise when you’re using Komprise to move data to Azure. So the customer doesn’t even have to pay for our product. Azure actually pays for it. So we have these kinds of partnerships with these vendors. So the short answer is, cobbling together something from point solutions is what customers think of as an alternative to ours. We’re a new type of product because we have independent data management that spans different architectures.

Does it work across any on-premises storage vendor and any cloud provider?

Yes. Any file and object storage. So we work across NetApp, Dell, Pure Storage, AWS, Azure, Google, all the ones you can think of.

Do you compete with the file services that these companies provide?

We do not. That’s why there are partners. We don’t do any storage. What we do is the data management. They do offer some data management capabilities. You could think of them as competition within their own ecosystem. But really, that’s not their focus. Their focus is more on making sure their file solution works with their storage solution.

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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