November 22, 2012

This is an exclusive interview by (BR) - Your source for online backup news and reviews


with Mr. David Jones, General Manager, HP Data Protection

Photo: David Jones

General Contact Information:
Phone, US: 1-415-243-9955
Phone, UK: +44-1223-44-8000
Sales Email:
Customer Care, site:
Customer Care, Phone: 1-855-288-6778

1/ Tell us about your day to day job, and its challenges and successes

I am the General Manager of HP’s Data Protection business. My core job focuses on the software that drives the storage market.

My job is challenging and exciting because the world in which we live is rich, dynamic and changes quickly. Data backup and recovery today is a mature market and the basis of competition has been established for a long time. But, that’s changing. Mobility, Big Data, virtualization and the cloud have re-defined the enterprise boundaries and introduced complexities unique to this set of technologies.  Existing solutions are not well suited to address these challenges.  The new challenge is working with customers to help them understand what is possible in this world of rich information and how that impacts the decisions they make in respect to the software they choose for data protection.

2/ Is your customer base primarily in Canada or the US, or is there a significant international presence as well?

We have a worldwide footprint with a presence in pretty much every country in the world. Basically wherever there are data centers, whether these are small to medium enterprises or very large companies with very large data centers, there’s a need to protect data. It’s worldwide in terms of the need. Our customer base follows that. There may be a skew towards North America and Europe – where HP and Autonomy are very strong – but we also see great growth in regions like APAC and Latin America.

3/ How many employees do you have and how big is your R&D department?

In terms of employees, we don’t separate that out, but our R&D is spread across four geographic locations: North America, Europe (Germany and Slovenia) and India – three major centers of development. In each of these centers of development, there are big pockets of people working on innovative solutions that redefine data protection and address the unique requirements introduced by mobility, Big Data, virtualization and the cloud.

4/ How many subscribers do you have? 

There a few different ways to look at this. For the end point Data Protection product, we have nearly 5 million online subscribers and at least that many who run it on premise. We are by any measure and without question, the leading provider of enterprise mobile data protection software, with a market share roughly double our nearest competitor.

For server data protection, things are measured differently. They are measured by customer, which can be one person, a single company or a service provider. If you take all that together, we have more than 60,000 customers, many of those are reselling our cloud based, data protection solutions themselves to their customers. We see great opportunity and have great plans for growth in the server data protection market.

5/ Which companies are your main sales partners globally?

We have more than 1,000 sales partners globally. They are clustered into three main categories: Storage VARs, Global Systems Integrators and Hosted Service Providers.

6/ What have been your greatest challenges so far and what do you see these challenges are / will be at the present time and in the coming years? How do you plan to overcome those challenges?

We have a fundamental belief that the world has changed significantly because of the vast amount of data that companies confront. For companies, their challenge is how do they take their data, turn it into knowledge, and turn that knowledge into action?  Our belief is that the way you do that is through our rich information platform – IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer). It is at the core of our product offering and delivers advantages for customers on the three key data protection metrics; backup windows, recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives. But, this is just table stakes. Our challenge is to get customers to understand and appreciate the business advantage IDOL has in turning the data backup and archive into a true information asset that drives business advantage and/or reduces business risk for them. That’s what we do that no other company does, we take that encrypted backup and archive information and through IDOL turn it into a business advantage. That’s the challenge – getting companies to look at it as more than protecting information.

7/ And what are your biggest accomplishments so far?

My biggest accomplishment is getting the industry to actually talk about the challenges that I’ve described and getting people to think about data as an information asset. Getting the industry to recognize that backed up data can be used for more than restoring files, that it truly is a business asset, has been a huge accomplishment. Now we’re seeing others recognize it – there’s a lot more work to do – but taking a very mature market and beginning to redefine how products should be evaluated is exciting.

8/ Do you charge by account or by PC? Do you offer unlimited backup and restore?

We have two sets of products, so two types of payment types:

  • Server Data Protection: Usage based – we charge by the amount of data protected and there is no capacity limit or restore limit.
  • End point Data Protection: Per computer charge/ per user charge – no capacity or restore limit.

9/ One of the biggest concerns of online backup users is data security and privacy. How have you addressed those issues?

There are two things to address here:

  • One that is always top of mind and what everyone talks about is: How do you encrypt data or protect data from the source, in transit, and at rest on the backend. We do that through 256 bit encryption, so a very high end encryption standard, which starts at the source and continue through to the backend. A very secure way to encrypt data.
  • So, if protection is the thing that people talk about, what they don’t talk enough about are the other three P’s of data protection; people, process and place. We’ve made an investment in data centers and security procedures at these facilities that make sense because we manage the world’s largest private cloud – more than 50 petabytes of information. Our business is managing information, so we do things differently. We do things different in how we screen, hire and train employees on an ongoing basis and how we run our data centers. At any data center you walk into, we maintain very high levels of security. This is incredibly important because this is where our customer’s data resides.

10/ Does your solution take into consideration compatibility across the major platforms, mobility, flexibility and constant access to data?


11/ Large companies like Microsoft and Google have started to offer online storage solutions. What is your take on that? How can you compete with such companies?

Microsoft and Google are in the market of offering online storage and that’s what it is – just a place to put things. That’s very different from a data protection scheme. There’s no real innovation there. There’s a part of the market for it, but it’s very different from data protection – it’s a different concept. That’s how we compete – it fills a different business need.

If you think about what it takes to succeed in the online storage market two things come to mind: cost and networking. Ultimately, the companies that are going to succeed are the people who make storage; Microsoft doesn’t, Google doesn’t, HP does. We have an innate, competitive advantage in the online storage world that we take advantage of in our archiving and data protection solutions. Additionally, HP is inherently a networking company. We have all the right building blocks to be a very big player in this market.

12/ In the next two years or so, what new developments do you expect to see in the online backup and data storage industry?

The big one is this: Backup today is really considered to be data at rest. It’s only accessed at times of distress or need – corruption, data loss, power outage or a natural disaster – and that’s how backup has been traditionally thought of. That won’t go away. But, what will change is that a company’s backup repository will become a very important source of information – it can be used for many other things, like legal compliance, mobility, synchronization.

The market is changing from backup and recovery being the only driver, to that being assumed and starting to think about what else you can do with this data.

13/ On a personal note, tell us about your life: married or single, children, your hobbies, where you were born and grew up, where you got your education, where you get your inspiration, and whether you will be around in this business, say 5 years from now?

I am fortunate to have found and married my college sweetheart. We are now many years beyond college, still married and have four wonderful children – one in high school, one in college and two recent college graduates.

I was raised in Hawaii; I moved to the mainland to go to college and then business school at Stanford, in the heart of Silicon Valley. I’m a startup guy and there is no better place in the world to be than here. I still live in the Bay Area and spend a lot of my time doing watersports: surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, ocean kayaking. I also hack my way around a golf course and am competitive on the tennis court.

With respect to what I will be doing in five years, I am very energized by what is going on. We’re at the front end of a transformation and there are some really exciting things going on in the industry. Data protection is a core piece of the enterprise infrastructure. Any time there is an infrastructure transformation – and we’re sitting on the cusp of several– virtualization and cloud going mainstream, Big Data and mobility, there are tons of opportunities.

14/ Who is (person or company) your role model from the cloud backup industry?

From a cloud perspective – Salesforce – the way they’ve been able to take an application and expand it into a platform, create an industry around it.

15/ Please give us some background information about your company, such as how it was founded, by whom, how long have you been around, where your headquarters are, how many branch offices you have or you will have, etc.

Autonomy was founded in 1996 by Dr. Mike Lynch when he developed an algorithm that extracts meaning in real time from all forms of information, regardless of format, source, or language. This methodology and technology is transforming the way companies use and interact with data. Autonomy has evolved into a market-leading software company, and in late 2011, was acquired by HP.

We are headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with our US headquarters in San Francisco, CA, and have global offices spanning North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

16/ Any other news about your company you care to share?

We recently announced a new solution designed to help institutions achieve compliance with Dodd-Frank regulations. An important new information governance offering, the solution uniquely enables institutions to understand, and apply the right policy, to ALL forms of data, structured and unstructured.  This is critical for Dodd-Frank as much of the data that needs to be tracked comes in the form of unstructured data, such as email, voice mail, and the system needs to be able to understand concepts and ideas in the information, to know what to do with it.

17/ What is the amount of file you backed up in your servers?

We currently have the world’s largest private cloud which stores more than 50 petabytes of data.

18/ What makes your company and its service different from others?

Our products are built on the Intelligent Data Operating Layer – IDOL. Like I’ve mentioned, we believe that the way companies use their data is fundamentally changing. Rather than simply storing it, many companies are realizing that their data can give them a significant business edge and are employing techniques to analyze and derive meaning from their massive data stores. That’s where Autonomy – and IDOL – comes into play. We are the only data storage and backup company in the market that can help companies take their data to the next level.

19/ Now that we know about you, we want to ask you about us. As you know has been providing useful and timely information about the online backup and data storage industry since 2004. We post daily news, write reviews, rank the top 100 online backup companies on a monthly basis, we keep a directory of companies, conduct interviews, and publish all of our posts in many social networking sites. How can we improve our website and its services?

I read your website regularly and appreciate all of the content you provide. Thanks!


Ed: We sincerely thank David Jones for this interview opportunity.

© November 2012

General Tags: online file backup, online backup providers directory, online data backup, CEO interviews, data storage, backing up online, online backup, online file storage, online backup reviews, top rated online backups, online backup companies, online backup news, compare online backups, online backup services, cloud computing, software as a service, SaaS, data security

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