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CEO Jamie Lerner On Quantum’s NVMe, Edge Computing Focus

‘Putting Quantum into a cubby as a tape business is probably a pretty dated view of the company. It’s something that we sell. But we have object storage, file storage. We have ruggedized edge storage. We have cloud storage. We have data management software,’ Quantum President and CEO Jamie Lerner tells CRN.

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So as Quantum gets more into 100-year archiving or moving toward the edge or doing more with containers and virtual machines and so on, how have your channel partners changed?

We’ve done a number of things. One is, we’ve begun expanding to more general-purpose IT. I think for a number of years we had very niche partners, niche government, niche media and entertainment. Now we’re working with some larger and more broad-based [partners]. We’ve also focused on partners that can design complete solutions. Our business is evolving from selling the customer a box to solving a business problem. We really want to sit with our customers and say, ’Look, what are the three to five most important business imperatives you have?’ And we want to be relevant in at least two of their five initiatives. And those are business initiatives. We want to be business-relevant. And to do that, you don’t solve a business problem by dropping a piece of equipment at a loading dock. You’ve got to be able to integrate that. You’ve got to be able to design custom business methods and processes. And we need partners that have the ability to gather those kinds of requirements and deliver a full solution. So I think that’s been a big part of our transformation. That, and having a portfolio that’s wide enough with a rich enough set of APIs to allow us to express a business problem or solve a business problem with our technology.

Where is that deep archiving happening?

We work with arguably the world’s largest data centers and the biggest cloud companies around deep archive. Very deep, cold, 10-year, 20-year, 50-year archives of data at exabyte scale. And we’ve been making a lot of progress with them in that the cloud companies are doing well during COVID. But more importantly, they’re all building out exabyte-scale deep archives that can store customers’ data for decades at very aggressive prices. And that’s with very specialized equipment that we’ve been building to meet their needs. Equipment that can be pushed into a corner and still be able to cool itself. Equipment that can be put in trucks. Equipment that can be operated with no tools, no expertise, and can be completely automated through APIs. So really building very specialized equipment where customers can have thousands or tens of thousands of racks, but operate them with incredible simplicity at that kind of scale. And I just think we’re pulling away from the competition and in that exabyte-scale deep archives.


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