Challenging the Status Quo of Virtualization Backup and Management; Executive Interview with PHD Virtual Part I

Virtualization has brought many changes to enterprises the last few years ranging from faster application deployments to more efficient and effective use of the data center infrastructure. But maybe no area is more ready for change than in how virtualization challenges the status quo of how organizations currently backup and manage their increasingly virtualized infrastructure. In this first part of an interview series with PHD Virtual’s CMO Steve Kahan, he discusses how new tools are needed to backup and manage the new virtual infrastructure of today.

Jerome:  Steve, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me. To kick off our conversation, please tell me a bit about PHD’s vision and how that maps to its product roadmap.

Steve:  The world is becoming virtualized. When you look at the popularity and movement towards virtualized environments, there is no question that it presents organizations with numerous challenges. Yet many of the administrators responsible for managing these virtualized environments are often forced to use complex or hard to use legacy tools which have not really been designed for the virtual world.

kahan.JPGPHD Virtual CMO Steve Kahan

PHD is really trying to challenge this status quo of virtualization management. Part of that challenge in doing so is that our customers tell us they are enormously busy and that their work is complicated. They do not want the technology that they use to monitor or backup their virtualized environment to also be complicated. It just should be easier.

This is why PHD is very focused on delivering state of the art data protection and infrastructure monitoring software that is more effective, far easier to use, and more affordable than competitive alternatives.

When I talk to PHD’s customers, and I have interviewed many of them, they will tell you in their own words that they can just “set and forget our products” because they just work. Those are their words that they use to describe us.

This is what unmatched value for the virtual world is really all about. PHD’s vision is to deliver rock star treatment, provide an exceptional value, and deliver a powerful technology that enables our customers to get their job done easier with fewer resources and less cost than any other company.

Jerome: Can you elaborate on how you are doing that?

Steve:  PHD as a company provides the absolute best value in virtual backup and replication for VMware and Citrix platforms today and will include Hyper-V in the not too distant future. PHD also offers advanced infrastructure monitoring for physical, virtual and cloud environments. And, in Q1 2012, PHD will be releasing PHD Cloud Backup.

Today, PHD has more than 4,500 customers that rely on our products around the globe. We primarily serve SMB customers as well as departmental enterprise customers.

PHD has achieved nine consecutive quarters of record revenue growth – and we expect record revenue growth to continue. Customers are voting and they are voting with their wallets and, when they do so, they choose PHD.

PHD has been recognized with a number of industry awards. It is, as an organization, on a roll due to the value that it offers through the technology that it provides. PHD is growing very quickly but it has also built a very experienced management team.

PHD has recently brought on a new CEO, Jim Legg. Jim has significant experience growing revenue at companies like Idera, NetIQ, and BMC. Now he is quite frankly putting his magic to work here as well.

As for myself, I recently joined the company. I ran global marketing at Quest Software, and am familiar with our space. But in particular I am looking to expand our marketing efforts and build visibility for the value that we offer so PHD Virtual is no longer the best kept secret in the industry.

PHD has Donna Grare, its VP of Engineering, Jeff Robinson who is its CFO, and Shawn Brady who’s recently been appointed VP of Sales. All of which taken together is an organization with a management team that has a successful track record that it is applying to serve customers and grow the business. And, all of us participate in the user group and forums in order to stay in touch with the needs of customers.

It is important to understand what sets PHD apart. Many times you can go to a competitor’s website and it is very difficult to understand what their differentiator is. PHD customers tell us that many competitive alternatives are just far too complex, and far too expensive. This is a toxic combination that leads to a negative ownership experience and it’s why PHD is so passionate about changing that game.

This is why PHD delivers products that are “download and go.” They are easy to download, easy to evaluate, easy to install, easy to use, and easy to maintain. Time to value is evident right out of the box, and that our products are powerful in scale like none other.

We hear that all of these capabilities represent great value. Then, combined with our pricing – which typically is up to 40 percent less than many of the competition – it is easy to see how PHD sets itself apart and why our customers love us.

In fact one of my favorite ways of expressing this value is by repeating a quote by our customer, Marek Friedl of Hardt Equipment, when he said, “I have so many tasks on my plate that I can’t afford to spend much time managing backups.  PHD Virtual makes the whole process a piece of cake. How they put so much power into such an easy to use product, I don’t know, but they did.

PHD has also seen growth within customers of all sizes. This includes companies ranging from departmental enterprise customers such as Sun Guard or the UK National Health System to thousands of SMB customers who have chosen PHD Virtual over the years.

In part II of this interview series, Steve elaborates on how PHD Virtual delivers the new functionality and ease of use that organizations need without the product becoming more complex along the way.

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Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Founder of DCIG, LLC Jerome Wendt is the President and Founder of DCIG, LLC., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in November 2007.

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