Rich Tehrani of TMCnet interviewed WHIPTAIL’s VP of Product Management and CMO Max Riggsbee at Cloud Expo 2012 New York. Tehrani asks Riggsbee about the type of technology WHIPTAIL uses, what applications can benefit from it, how WHIPTAIL helps specific industries, among other questions.
Rich Tehrani: Rich Tehrani here with TMC. Thanks for watching us. We are at Cloud Expo 2012 at the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan. On our program is Max Riggsbee. He is with WHIPTAIL. Max, welcome to the show.
Max Riggsbee: Rich, very happy to be here. Thanks for having us.
Rich: I’d like to just start off by letting the audience know a little bit about WHIPTAIL. What do you guys do?
Max: Yeah, WHIPTAIL, we do something that’s pretty basic important to most companies. We actually make your applications run faster and we do that very simply. You move your applications onto our platform and they will run faster.
Rich: Please tell me what kind of platform is this. Is it a hardware platform that I put them on?
Max: Yes. Our WHIPTAIL technology is based on NAND flash technology; same type of technology you use in either in your cell phone or in your iPad. We have our own operating system called RACERUNNER, which optimizes the performance so that you get extraordinary read and extraordinary write performance that improves your applications’ reliability performance and scale ability.
Rich: Is it any sort of application that I can run or just an application that would typically run on an Intel server?
Max: Any kind of application, databases, email, video, it can be batch files; any type of application. Fundamentally, we are a storage platform based on silicon as opposed to spinning disk.
Rich: Primarily, your play is a storage play, not on the processor side of things.
Max: It’s a storage play, but another way to look at is we’re really a platform that accelerates an application, which is something that storage platforms have never done in the past. They’ve basically been designed to collect more bits and what we do is we move bits faster. If your goal, say with big data, is to accelerate your applications or have the velocity side of it, that’s what we provide.
Rich: Now this may be getting down into the bit and byte level, but do you have to worry about just error correction, large amounts of error correction with all that memory?
Max: We actually handle that in the RACERUNNER software. It’s not something the customer actually has to worry about. We handle all that in our proprietary software.
Rich: Excellent. Are there any specific industries that are more apt to work with you or just any industry that needs faster response?
Max: Well, any industry that needs faster response, there are certain industries that have technologies that they’re noticing now really need it. Say in legal they have situations with email. We’re noticing in education, there’s a desire to go to virtual classrooms. That requires virtual desktops and VDIs are a perfect candidate for our kind of platform. Anybody with a database. If they’re doing, any type of query, if they’re doing any type kind of load, they want to reduce that from hours to minutes, or minutes to seconds, our technology does that.
Rich: Now what if I was just to get a server and just load it up with massive amounts of RAM per caching. Isn’t that a way companies might think that they are solving the problem without having to go to another company?
Max: You know that’s true, that’s actually a very excellent point. There are some circumstances where that will solve a specific acute problem, but for the most part, what companies want to do is share a platform like ours and if you put cache inside of a machine, you’re really unable to do that. It also forces you to be responsible for other forms of protections such as replication, which is something that we provide as well.
Rich: You’re adding more services onto what you provide?
Max: That’s correct. Not only do you get the high performance, we also provide all the high protection services, such as RAID, we also provide replication so you can move your data from Denver to Dallas, as an example. On top of that, though, NAND also offers us a number of other things. One is we consume less energy. By consolidating your applications onto our platform, using fewer disks for performance, you actually reduce the amount of power that’s required and also NAND produces far less heat so you don’t need as much cooling, and we use less floor space.
Rich: Really lots of benefits. There are so many data centers that have run out of space or run out of power because they just can’t get more power to that area. Using your technology you solve, it sounds like, multiple problems and you can also make the programs run faster.
Max: That is absolutely correct. You’re able to run your application faster, reduce the power consumption, reduce the air conditioning, and reduce the floor space.
Rich: How do you go about determining the cost and the return on the investment because that’s something people have to think about anyway unless money is no object?
Max: Right. That is really an excellent question. Many people believe that NAND flash or flash in general is a far more expensive alternative to disk, but in fact, many customers today buy more disk than they need just for the spindles in order to spread out the performance. And in many cases when they really look at the amount of storage that they purchase for that particular use case, they’ll quickly discover that NAND flash is in fact a more cost effective alternative. That’s number one. Number two, with a technology like ours; you can consolidate high performance applications as opposed to spreading them out. In many cases once we do the math and we work with a customer on it, what they begin to realize is that for performance, our technology is more cost effective and of course, they get all the other benefits as well.
Rich: I’m interviewing you at an interesting time because last week, maybe even yesterday or two days ago, Apple came out with their announcement that they’ve got 256 gig drives now right or NAND flash drives that they’re putting the Macbook Pro I believe.
Max: That’s right. I think they also increased it in the Macbook Air. Yes, right. For the same reasons. Less power consumption, less heat, higher performance. We take that very same idea from the desktop and we take it into the data center and we make it available to mission critical applications that need to accelerate performance.
Rich: You get to a tipping point in an industry where it becomes so inexpensive because there’s just so much volume and maybe we’re there where all laptops and netbooks are going 100 percent hard disk free.
Max: I think you’re absolutely right. The benefits are really there and what we do in our technology since we use the same kind of technology that an Apple uses, we’re actually able to do that at a much lower cost with the same level of performance or a higher performance that a customer is really looking for.
Rich: Thanks for your time today, this was great.
Max: Rich, thank you very much.