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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.