Executive Q & A with Jim Ghelfi, Head of Hyperscale Accounts

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In this executive Q&A, Jim Ghelfi, Head of Hyperscale Accounts, discusses his role at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A. and how tape and FRMU can benefit hyperscale environments.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your career at Fujifilm and how you ended up as Head of Hyperscale Accounts?

    I live in Orange County in Southern California. I am married with two teenage kids both of whom take turns driving me crazy. I hate to let on to my age, but I will tell you I have been very fortunate to have spent the last 34 years with Fujifilm. I began my career selling videotape into the Media & Entertainment market  which then transitioned to selling data storage tape to large enterprise accounts. I now proudly represent Fujifilm at the largest hyperscale companies in the world. This was a natural progression allowing me to tell the Fujifilm story to larger scale customers. 

  2. What are some of the biggest data storage challenges facing Hyperscale accounts today and in the near future?

    Each account is unique and has its own set of challenges based on their specific use case for storage. One common theme for all is the focus on TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Like all companies 

    (and individuals) hyperscale accounts have a mandate to provide best in class performance at the lowest possible cost. Another challenge is how best to manage the incredible and ever-increasing volumes of data that is created and require protection and in many cases long-term retention. 

  3. What are the key advantages of today’s modern data tape technology for hyperscalers?

    There are several advantages offered by tape. I do not prefer to lead with this given Fujifilm media offers tremendous value in several areas, however it is unavoidable to ignore the cost benefits associated with tape in a storage environment. IT budgets are barely increasing, if at all, so it is necessary to have available storage media that is both reliable and cost effective, which is what tape provides. In addition to the cost savings, tape serves multiple purposes, including cold storage (archive) as well as backup. Additionally, tape (air gap) serves customers concerned with cyber-crime and  ransomware as well as environmental sustainability (very low energy consumption compared to HDD). 

  4. How is FRMU innovating to help hyperscalers address their challenges?

    First and  foremost, Fujifilm is widely recognized as the technology leader when it comes to coating technology. Innovation is represented in our continued development of future generations of media, both Enterprise (3592) as well as LTO. The demand for higher capacity and improved performance drives our innovation. The present LTO roadmap goes out 14 generations to 576TB of native capacity (1440 compressed) and Fujifilm is working with future particles that show great promise to meet this as with our 580 TB Strontium Ferrite  demo and to even exceed this with Epsilon Ferrite in the future. Additionally, we are making significant progress expanding the present environmental envelope that will allow hyperscale customers to deploy tape in more extreme geographies that have yet to do so. 

  5. What role do you think tape will play in the future of hyperscale environments?

    Because of the continued explosive growth of data, the need for higher capacity media is paramount. Hyperscale accounts will need to store more data for longer periods of time, as data  is recognized to be a valuable asset. Companies mine this data to glean meaningful patterns and trends that can then be used in significant ways, from marketing, understanding customer interests and trends and predictive analytics (AI/ML) to name just a few. Because of the proven cost effectiveness of tape including its low energy profile, its role within large hyperscale accounts is growing in importance. 

  6. What is your basic go-to-market strategy and what are your key selling points?

    I focus on both the strength of Fujifilm and the technology and benefits behind tape. Because Fujifilm has such presence in this industry, both as a technology and market share leader, companies are more willing to listen. Also, because data tape offers so many benefits, including ongoing capacity increases, advancements in transfer rate, areal density advantages, reliability, security, and sustainability there is an incredible story to tell. I also have to mention our commitment to exceptional customer service and satisfaction and our manufacturing facility in Bedford MA helps make that happen. 

  7. What are some of the challenges you face?

    For those unfamiliar with data tape, it is important to educate them on its value. Often times there is a perception that tape is old technology whose time has passed. This is why the tape evangelism that we are undertaking is critical. There also are those that think that tape is looking to replace disk in their environment when, in fact, tape is complimentary to disk and one of several technologies that enhance the ecosystem to optimize their data storage 

  8. What is your outlook for the future of tape and the role that FUJIFILM Recording Media will play?

    Tape has a huge runway ahead in terms of areal density to support increasing capacities so I’m optimistic about its future. Fujifilm itself is fully committed to this technology and we are already working on next generations of magnetic particle as I mentioned. So I expect we’ll continue in our leadership role for a long time to come. 

Rich Gadomski

Head of Tape Evangelism

As Head of Tape Evangelism for FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., Rich is responsible for driving industry awareness and end user understanding of the purpose and value proposition of modern tape technology. Rich joined Fujifilm in 2003 as Director of Product Management, Computer Products Division, where he oversaw marketing of optical, magnetic, and flash storage products. Previously Rich held the position of Vice President of Marketing, Commercial Products, where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products, value added services and solutions. Rich has more than 30 years of experience in the data storage industry. Before joining Fujifilm, Rich was Director of Marketing for Maxell Corp. of America where he was responsible for the marketing of data storage products. Prior to that, Rich worked for the Recording Media Products Division of Sony Electronics. Rich participates in several industry trade associations including the Active Archive Alliance, the Linear Tape-Open Consortium (LTO) and the Tape Storage Council. Rich also manages Fujifilm’s annual Global IT Executive Summit. Rich holds a BA from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Fordham University. FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc., is the leading manufacturer of commercial data tape products for enterprise and midrange backup and archival applications and provides long term data storage products and software through its FUJIFILM Data Management Solutions team.