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StorCentric CEO Mihir Shah eyes more acquisitions

StorCentric CEO Mihir Shah discusses the company's 2021 plans, future acquisitions and more.

StorCentric is looking to its Data Mobility Suite and Assureon backup storage service as key points of growth for their business into 2021 and the future.

The company, which has expanded in the past several years through the acquisition of small to midsize storage vendors, didn't let the global pandemic slow it down in 2020 with its most recent acquisition, Violin, late last year.

In this Q&A, StorCentric CEO Mihir Shah discusses his plans for the company into 2021, potential acquisitions in the future and the nature of StorCentric's business in the years to come.

What's the latest with StorCentric?

Mihir Shah: As you know, 2020 was a crazy year for everybody. A lot of businesses were down, including ours. We made a decision as a team to double down on the market. We think there are three strong tailwinds in our industry that are really helping our business in 2021.

One is data continues to grow. ... Not only does it continue to grow, it continues to grow in a siloed format. Second piece is, we know ransomware is on the rise and it's growing through the roof. ... The third piece of this is distributed storage. The phenomenon of work from home has pushed corporate data to the edge, if you will.

With these three things happening out in the marketplace, how do you create solutions to address them? We feel we have a good portfolio now.

Mihir Shah, CEO of StorCentricMihir Shah

Is StorCentric looking into cloud services into 2021?

Shah: We just launched our first cloud-enabled service, the Assureon cloud. That's our secure, private ransomware solution. We will start to Cloudify some of these software storage services.

We got our Data Mobility Suite, DMS, that is cloud-integrated. We're really moving more toward a hybrid-type architecture. Specifically, what our customers are looking to do.

We want to be the guys who come out and say, 'Hey look, we know that cloud is an integral part of companies' infrastructure, but how do you operate it in a hybrid environment?' That's what our solutions are targeted to. We are looking at some acquisitions around providing a cloudlike service for our customers. That will continue to play a theme in how we look at the market.

You had mentioned ransomware solutions as a focus into 2021. What are some of those products?

Shah: We launched a product called the Unbreakable Backup. We took the IP that we have and created this product we have for the marketplace.

That has been a very fast-growing segment for us. We launched that in May of last year and we've already closed eight to 10 very large deals in the enterprise space. That's a very unique solution we don't think anybody else has in the marketplace.

We are looking at some acquisitions around providing a cloudlike service for our customers.
Mihir ShahCEO, StorCentric

What's the future for the five different brands under the StorCentric label?

Shah: The current thinking is Violin and Vexata will probably fold into the Nexsan brand. The Nexsan brand has a very good reputation in our biggest customers. You'll start to see that news come out over the next six months. We plan to keep some of the software higher-level brands under StorCentric.

From an integration standpoint within the company, post-acquisition we typically integrate the acquisition relatively quickly. We keep the brand around for a little bit, so it gives us time to transition it into the brand we want it to be.

What about for the end users of these products? Will these changes be painless?

Shah: The pain is more on our end. Operationally, they're not going to notice any difference other than the logo on their management interface.

What about blockchain and other distributed storage models? Does StorCentric have implementations in the works?

Shah: Our Assureon model has what we call a private blockchain. It fingerprints every file that moves back and forth. It's more or less confirmatory in the eyes of someone who is doing an audit. It's a private blockchain-like technology.

We have healthcare customers who, due to HIPAA, need to have a chain of custody on who's touching a patient file. This particular technology keeps an audit trail.

Are there further acquisitions planned for this year?

Shah: We're constantly evaluating in the framework; what's the next data management service we want to add onto that platform? Things like, disaster recover as a service. How do we accelerate our recurring revenue stream?

We're starting to look at hyper-converged infrastructure that makes sense for us. We're taking a look at things like management interface. How can we increase our time to market to develop that? Do we just acquire that or develop pieces of it? We're looking at other software-defined solutions around object storage.

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