Tech Field Day 15 Preview: Actifio

It feels like this Tech Field Day 15 (TFD15) is a reunion of Storage Field Day 5 (SFD5). Another presenting company is Actifio. Actifio presented at SFD5. They are up next in my preview of TFD15. At the time Actifio was called a copy-data company. Their core value-proposition of the day revolved around reducing the cost and inefficiency of copy-data. I think today we’d classify Actifio as a secondary data company.

As a reminder, Tech Field Day is an independent influencer event sponsored by 7 to 8 companies. Stephen Foskett flies in 12-delegates to listen to the presenters discuss the business and technical details of their product and services. It’s a great opportunity to deep dive into the technology. Outside of travel, meals and vendor swag, delegates are not compensated for the event or are required to write about the event or companies. Obviously, it makes sense to do so when appropriate.

Secondary data has seen a boom in investment. Cohesity, Rubrik, and Druva have all each seen recent investments of $80M or more. Either there’s incredible product demand or investors are drunk on the market segment. TFD15 is an opportunity for Actifio to share its updated strategy after a few years of lessons learned.

What I’ve liked about Actifio is that it’s a software overlay. In theory, a database administrator could refresh a QA landscape from a previous snapshot or backup. The intent is to provide almost instantaneous access to a fresh development environment without creating an expensive copy of the data. A big difference between now and then is the growth of public cloud.

Since Actifio is software, there isn’t a reason why the product couldn’t leverage cloud services as a target for data.

To date, my impression of Actifio remains consistent. Actifio is interesting technology but can it overcome the challenges of enterprise IT silos. The use case of the DBA remains a great opportunity for cost savings and efficiency. However, the practice of the DBA and storage teams working in such a seamless fashion remains a challenge. DBA have a workflow that is almost impossible to change. In the DBA use case, solutions like Actifio do best if they make the process invisible. It’s why deduplication is so popular. Storage administrators don’t need to interact with storage consumers to realize the advantages of deduplication.

I’m expecting Actifio to tell a story about how they are either helping to break down the silos or making the solution look native to existing operations. On paper, Actifio is great technology