You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger buzzword in IT today than Big Data. Many organizations have come to realize that there is huge value in having information at their fingertips in real time, all the time. This trend is enabled by analytics, search engines, business intelligence tools, machine learning, and a bunch of other complex IT stuff, but at the heart of it all lies data, the data which if you think about it, pretty much drives the whole thing.
With the advent of the cloud, which now permeates the fabric of our lives, from streaming movies to shopping online, gaming, banking and even politics, the amount of data out there has expanded massively and grown into what is called Big Data. Big Data is a booming, multi tens of billions of dollar industry across the globe, and that is precisely the arena DataDirect Networks (DDN) has been laying claim to.
DataDirect Networks (DDN) is the world’s leading Big Data storage supplier to organizations with data-intensive needs worldwide. For more than 18 years, DDN has been designing and deploying systems that enable companies, universities and government agencies to create more value from their data, and accelerate their time to insight, both on their premises and in the cloud. Today thousands of the world’s leading organizations leverage the power of DDN technology and the deep expertise of its team to capture, store, analyze and distribute data at unprecedented speeds.
In chat with: Alex Bouzari, CEO/Co-founder and Paul Bloch, President/ Co-founder
How did DDN originate?
In the late 90’s we foresaw the impact that the internet would have on creating demand for large scale data storage. We therefore decided to build technology which would handle these massive amounts of data, reliably and at very high speed. Since nothing like this existed at the time, we had to invent it all, including software, complex artificial intelligence algorithms, sophisticated data management technology, silicon and hardware.
Could you tell us about your first product release and its success?
DataDirect’s first product was aimed at early adopters of large scale data storage. Movie studios with sophisticated special effect needs, TV stations who wanted to broadcast digitally, government agencies who were tackling very complex problems like weather forecasting, investigating the origins of the universe, nuclear explosion simulations and anti-terrorism. The product we invented hit a sweet spot with these customers, and within a few years we became a standard in these markets. Thanks to DataDirect, these organizations were now able to do things they had only dreamed of before, and better yet at the touch of a finger. Later on, our markets expanded to many other industries, such as banking and finance, car and airplane manufacturers, healthcare, oil & gas and ultimately the web and cloud economy.
What was the reason behind your company’s expansion?
Our customers needed to manage more and more data, and handle images and video faster and at a larger scale. There simply was no end in sight to the amount of growth they required. The expansion of our business simply followed the expansion of our customer base and their requirements. At the same time we went from selling mostly to US customers to becoming a global company, serving the needs of customers in more than 50 countries.
What troubles did you have to overcome during your initial years?
The early days were tremendously exciting but also challenging. With rapid growth came the need for capital to fuel our growth and the need to find great talent to expand our team. We also had to establish offices in various countries, adapt to the different ways of doing business in each one of those countries, and built up the infrastructure necessary to operate on a global scaleWhat kept us growing successfully throughout the years was a razor sharp focus on meeting and exceeding our customers’ needs.
What are the reasons behind your firm’s success?
The Executive Duo
Alex Bouzari, CEO and Co-founder, is a visionary IT leader with over 25 years of experience in founding and managing profitable, high growth technology companies. Prior to co-founding DataDirect Networks – which is now the world’s largest, privately held storage company, with thousands of customers and 600 employees in 20 countries. Alex holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Economics Caltech, with graduate studies in Engineering at MIT and Stanford University.
Paul Bloch, President and Co-founder, brings over 25 years of experience in starting, growing and successfully managing technology businesses, including serving as the President of DataDirect Networks, Inc., Personal Writer, Inc., and MegaDrive Systems, Inc. Mr. Bloch graduated with an Engineering degree from National Superior School of Telecommunications (ENST) in France and a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Caltech.
“DDN’s technology powers thousands of the world’s leading banks and financial services firms, healthcare and life science organizations, manufacturing and energy companies, government and research facilities.”