Dell, Software, and the Future of Backup: Q&A with Robert Amatruda

Last month, we at Dell Software had the pleasure of welcoming long-time industry analyst Robert Amatruda to the Dell family as the newest member of our data protection product team. Long one of the data protection industry’s most visible and well-respected third-party voices on issues relating to data backup, recovery and storage, Robert brings a wealth of insight and experience to the Dell team, and his presence will help us exponentially as we continue to enhance our portfolio of backup and recovery offerings.

As we prepare to turn the calendar to 2015, data protection is an industry in transition, as customers continue to seek new ways to optimize backup and recovery in the face of an evolving set of challenges. Likewise, the incumbent vendors in the data protection industry are undergoing enormous changes as well.  I recently sat down with Robert to discuss these industry and customer challenges, and why he thinks Dell is ideally suited to help customers address them.

Dell Software Data Protection banner

Q: As a long-time industry analyst with a unique perspective, what appealed to you about the prospect of working for Dell?

Robert: I’d been looking to transition out of the analyst community to pursue new opportunities that better leveraged my experience. As I looked out at the landscape of marquee companies in the IT space, Dell really stood out to me. It’s a company that has really stepped up and positioned itself well, and obviously, that starts at the top. Michael Dell realized much faster than other CEO’s in the industry that being beholden to Wall Street was not the way to innovate. As an outside observer, watching Dell go private was fascinating, and I was extremely impressed with Michael and the way he handled the challenge. When I added it up, I thought Dell was a place where I could do some really interesting and innovative things. Dell has all the tools and all the attributes needed to be successful, not only in data protection, but in adjacent markets as well.

Q: How do you see software fitting into the overall Dell picture?

Robert: Dell is already seen by customers as excelling when it comes to helping them put in place modern infrastructure they need in a fast and cost-effective manner. I think with software now, we really have the ability to expand that value-proposition even further. Dell has the opportunity to provide the end-to-end solutions that enable companies that drive business forward. Dell didn’t just go on an acquisition spree to compile features. It made judicious investments to bring together an end-to-end, solutions-oriented portfolio. There’s a lot of intrinsic value that gets brought to the customer when you can deliver comprehensive solutions, and those are the conversations we’re focusing on.

Q: What are some of the ways the data protection industry is evolving?

Robert: The IT buying center has really changed and diversified, especially when it comes to backup. We’re not dealing with “Billy Backup” anymore. We’re dealing with application owners, VM admins and other IT stakeholders who haven’t traditionally been tied to backup.  These people aren’t specifically immersed in backup products or process, instead they are more consumed with management, budget, time constraints, and application availability. The players have changed, so the discussion has changed. Data protection is no longer about ensuring the organization has a good backup somewhere if it’s needed. It’s about aligning a technology solution set around business operations.

Q: Why do you think Dell is positioned to address this need?

Robert: Where Dell really stands out in this space is through its ability to bring to the table a set of solutions that customers can mix and match in a manner such that they are more tightly aligning their infrastructure to those critical business considerations. We’re not pushing one-off products that may or may not fit into your environment. We offer integrated solutions, especially our appliances, that can be introduced in a non-disruptive manner, co-exist with your existing infrastructure, and deliver great benefits right out the box. It’s a powerful combination for customers.

Dell PowerEdge servers

About the Author: Michael Grant