Five Questions With: Robert Petrocelli

CEO and CTO of GreenBytes Inc. talks about the company’s shift in focus from deduplication data storage to IO offload solutions. More

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Five Questions With: Robert Petrocelli

Posted 8/29/12

Robert Petrocelli is the founder, CEO and chief technology officer for Hopkington-based technology company GreenBytes Inc.

Prior to establishing the company in 2007, Petrocelli founded medical information technology company, Heartlab Inc., in 1994.

Petrocelli talked to Providence Business News about the company’s decision to shift its focus from deduplication data storage solutions to IO offload solutions.

PBN: Why did GreenBytes decide to make the leap from deduplication data storage solutions to IO offload solutions?

PETROCELLI: This is a solution our customers helped us make. Because deduplication is central to lowering the cost of IO, many users in our installed base were using our prior generation of systems to do exact this... offload IO from their existing storage area networks (SANs)

PBN: Can you explain exactly what IO offload solutions are?

PETROCELLI: The virtualization of computing (using virtual CPUs rather than physical CPUs) has been a huge success in data-centers world-wide. The next phase of this trend is to replace most business desktop computers with remotely hosted virtual desktops (VDI) which allow the increasing mobile workforce to access their applications and data from almost any device.

The problem with VDI is that it demands a great deal of IO in the backend of the data-center to give the user a pleasant experience. Most data centers have tried to absorb all of this traffic using their SANs but storage networks are made to store files, not process transient IO, and they fail badly at this type of task. Our IO Offload Engine "soaks up" all of the transient IO and frees the SAN to do what it as made to do, keep users' files secure for the long term.

PBN: Who is the primary target audience for your new product?

PETROCELLI: Our product is for enterprises which plan to roll out 5,000 or more virtual desktops. While this sounds like a big number, it is not. One of our first customers for this product is a major European telecommunications company which has plans to role out up to 750,000 VDIs (that is 150 of our appliances) over the next two years. The total market we address is in excess of 40 million desktops over the next 3 years.

We plan on being the critical piece of infrastructure for years to come.

PBN: How do you expect this shift will change the GreenBytes business model?

PETROCELLI: We see a shift in our revenue model from box sales to operationalized models. For example, a service provider might contract to use our product on their site and pay $2/month/VDI for a fixed period of time. This allows great elasticity for our users who themselves are paid from a subscriber base.

PBN: You were founded in 2007, how have you seen the tech climate change in the last five years, both locally and otherwise?

PETROCELLI: We have lived through an entire technology cycle which has seen the storage world begin the move from magnetic drives to solid-state storage.

These are exciting times for us. You can image that the demand from our primary markets will take off along with the mobile computing revolution we are in the middle of… Fortunately, we have developed and patented unique intellectual property that makes this revolution possible.

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