Delphix Is A Disruptive Database Virtualization Start-up To Watch

This is my second post on my impressions from the Under The Radar conference. Check out the first post on NoSQL.

Virtualization is not cloud computing. However virtualization has significant potential when it is used to achieve cloud-like characteristics such as elasticity, economies of scale, accessibility, simplicity to deploy etc. I have always believed that the next wave of cloud computing is going to be all about solving “special” problems on the cloud – I call it a vertical cloud. These vertical problems could be in any domain, technology stack, or industry. Raw computing has come long way. It is about the right time we do something more interesting with the raw cloud computing.

Delphix is attempting to solve a specific problem - database virtualization. I met the CEO Kaycee Lai and the VP of sales Jedidiah Yueh at Under The Radar reception the night before. They have great background in understanding the cost and flexibility issues around de-duplication from their days at EMC. They have assembled a great team including Alok Srivastava from Oracle who ran Oracle RAC engineering prior to joining Delphix. Most large database deployments have multiple copies of single database that customers use for purposes beyond production such as staging, testing, and troubleshooting. This replication is expensive from process, resources, and storage perspective and takes long time to provision instances. The founders saw this problem first hand at EMC and decided to solve it.

At the core their offering is a read-write snapshot of a database. That’s quite an achievement. The snapshots are, well, snapshots. You can’t modify them. When you make this compromise they occupy way less space. Delphix took the same concept but created the writable snapshots and a seemingly easy to use application (I haven’t used it) that allows quick de-duplication based on these snapshots. You can also go back in time and start your instance from there.

Delphix has great value proposition in the database virtualization - help the customers reduce their hardware and people – DBA and system administrators - cost at the same time accelerate the IT processes. I like their conscious decision not to go after the backup market. Sometimes you have a great product but if it is marketed in the wrong category with vendors fighting in the red ocean you could die before you can grow. They had the best pitch at the conference – very calm, explaining the problem, articulating the value proposition, emphasizing right people on the team, and identifying the target market. If you are an entrepreneur (or even if you are not) check out their pitch and Q&A. There is a lot you can learn from them.

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