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New CEO Barth says Catalogic ECX poised for rapid growth

Investor-turned-CEO Ken Barth said Catalogic's ECX may support 12 additional storage platforms in 2017, adding to existing EMC, IBM, NetApp, Oracle and VMware storage.

Ken Barth has moved from an investor in Catalogic Software to head of the company.

Barth in July took over as CEO at the copy data management software vendor, after spending three years on the private company's board of directors. He came to Catalogic as a director through his position with Bedford Venture Partners, an early Catalogic investor.

Barth replaced Ed Walsh as CEO after Walsh left to become general manager of IBM's storage and software-defined infrastructure division.

Barth's last CEO role was at storage resource management software vendor Tek-Tools, which he sold to SolarWinds in 2010. He said he will follow the roadmap sketched out by Walsh at Catalogic. The plan is to expand use cases for Catalogic ECX in-place copy data management and DPX backup software.

"Ed has a great strategic vision for copy data management and all it entails," Barth said. "He put Catalogic on a tremendous path for growth."

Barth recently discussed his new job and his plans for Catalogic.

Ken Barth, CEO, CatalogicKen Barth

What was behind your decisions to join Catalogic Software as a director in 2013, and now as CEO?

Ken Barth: I knew a lot of the people here from an OEM relationship that Tek-Tools had with Syncsort. That's how I got involved investing [in Catalogic during] the management buyout from Syncsort. We were actually thinking about doing something similar with our reporting tool at Tek-Tools, and then Ed Walsh came into our lives. He took the role at Catalogic and ran with it, and then he got the job of a lifetime at IBM. 

I relish working with a great team that has a great direction already set. This is a fantastic opportunity, and I feel lucky to have the job. If you look at what our Catalogic ECX technology does, and the direction that the copy data management segment is moving, we are in a really great spot right now. Sometimes, the hardest thing is to crawl a little bit, and we've done that [with initial ECX versions]. With the Oracle release, we've started to walk, and the time will be short before we start sprinting.

Catalogic ECX has gone from initially supporting NetApp arrays to also supporting IBM and EMC storage. Will you look to support additional storage platforms?

Barth: We do in-place copy data management, which is different than what our competitors do. In-place requires us to be very strategic in our choice of partners. It's about knowing how many vendors we can support. We're sorting and evaluating strategic partnerships now. Ed created a really good roadmap, and we're going to keep executing on that plan.

What is your expected product cadence? How many additional storage systems will ECX support in the next year or so?

Barth: I think it will be similar to what we did with our Profiler tool at Tek-Tools. We had the same issue of choosing which management vendors to support, and we checked them off one at a time. I think you'll see us add support for three or four platforms before the end of this year. It won't be [every storage system], but specific models of a vendor.

We're also toying with the idea of providing our partners with extensible APIs. I'm not sure how far we'll get on that next year, but it would be a way to increase our development bandwidth. Don't hold me to it, but I can see us adding 12 platforms next year -- maybe three platforms each quarter next year. That's how it feels to me as we start to gain momentum.

We see Catalogic ECX becoming the next wave in data protection.
Ken BarthCEO, Catalogic Software

What are the plans for DPX (data protection for NetApp storage)?

Barth: The two products actually complement each other. We see Catalogic ECX becoming the next wave in data protection, but tape isn't going away anytime soon; physical servers aren't going away anytime soon. ... There's always going to be a need for data protection in those environments, and DPX is fantastic for both physical and virtual storage.

EMC launched its Enterprise Copy Data Management (eCDM) this year. Catalogic ECX now supports EMC Unity arrays, which eCDM does not yet support. Do you view EMC as competitor or ally?

Barth: I look at EMC as a partner. Certainly, they could point eCDM at Unity, but I've always felt there's room for a small vendor like us, who can fill gaps in the market and kind of lead the way. I look at our role as pushing the envelope. Legacy vendors usually move slowly, just because of their size and nature of all the things they need to consider. The advantage of being a small company is we can jump into something a little quicker.

EMC is a trendsetter. When EMC came out with eCDM, it validated everything we've been talking about, particularly in-place copy data management. That's our big differentiator from Actifio and Delphix. We don't replace your whole plumbing system. We just remodel your bathroom a little bit.

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