Updated March 29 at 12:28am

Five Questions With: Robert Petrocelli

GreenBytes CEO and chief technology officer talks about the company’s deduplication data storage appliances.

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Five Questions With: Robert Petrocelli


GreenBytes, provider of inline deduplication data storage appliances, recently announced a major benchmark in its development – the company expanded to more than 50 clients globally and just fewer than 100 systems installations.

Robert Petrocelli, CEO and chief technology officer, founded GreenBytes in 2007 after selling his medical information technology company HeartLab, where he served as the former CEO and co-founder, to Belgium-based Agfa-Gevaert for about $133 million in 2005.

PBN: In layman’s terms, what are deduplication data storage appliances and who needs them?

PETROCELLI: Data storage appliances are extremely sophisticated computer servers that integrate numerous hardware and software efficiencies to create an environment where companies, large or small, can store, protect and access their data.

Deduplication is a means of eliminating duplicate or redundant data, such as multiple copies of the same email, attachments, etc. Only one copy of the data is actually stored on the appliance, either on magnetic or solid state disc or tape.

The redundant data is then replaced with a locator called metadata that virtually instantaneously connects the user to the unique data copy that has been stored. The whole process is seamless to the person trying to recall the data, no matter how many people are trying to access the same piece of information.

Since deduplication can make a significant difference in the physical space needed to store data, it provides substantial cost savings, as well ecological benefits since fewer storage appliances will be needed, thus emitting less carbon into the environment.

GreenBytes was founded with the mission of helping to solve the rapidly growing data storage and energy efficiency crises facing IT operations. There is no question that as the demand for storage continues to rise, along with energy costs and environmental awareness, companies across myriad industries must find a way to be more energy efficient, cut costs and increase data storage capacity. Whether the adopter is a SMB (small-medium business) or Fortune 500 enterprise, industries including financial services, legal, manufacturing, education, healthcare and government recognize this, and are beginning to examine ways to make their information storage approaches more efficient.

PBN: Congratulations on the recent customer growth. What do you attribute the growth to? What important clients have you signed? Do you have any customer growth goals for the next year?

PETROCELLI: Our growth can be attributed to the success of our GB-X Series of data storage appliances. GreenBytes technology enables customers of all sizes from myriad verticals to utilize our appliances for data protection, primary storage and virtualized environments. Many competing solutions are only targeting one of those three key areas of storage, where as we can be utilized in all three. Because our products are so versatile, customers can purchase GreenBytes storage for one storage project, and know that it can also be used for another mission down the line. In this economy, saving money is mission-critical, so we bundle everything together and offer a highly versatile, environmentally conscious, cost-effective solution that is increasingly being adopted.

We have increased our customer base in both North America and Europe and are proud to have customers including Brown University, DSM, Krüll Motor Company and University of Maryland.

We have major customer names that I would love to ‘drop,’ but due to the sensitive nature of their work, we are unable to disclose at this time.

Over the next year, we expect to gain additional traction in North America and Europe, and we are actively exploring the distribution of our products in Asia.

PBN: I understand you’re going to release a case study with the University of Maryland. What’s it about?

PETROCELLI: The Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of Maryland started work on an important research project that was putting a tremendous strain on their storage infrastructure. Specifically, the project involved an area of storage called Virtual Storage Infrastructure, which can be described as a user’s desktop computer becoming ‘virtualized’ and then moved to the data center, and then made accessible to the end user over a sophisticated network.

Because of the high performance of GreenBytes’ storage appliances, we play very well in VDI environments and were able to provide the needed technology to get UMD back on track with an upgraded storage infrastructure that could accommodate the team of researchers and their collective storage requirements.

PBN: GreenBytes is also planning to exhibit at the United Kingdom’s IP Expo, what do you hope is going to come from that? Is Europe an important area for your business?

PETROCELLI: We’re very excited about our upcoming exhibition at IP Expo in London in October. Europe is a very important market for GreenBytes, and we have already had considerable traction in Europe, distributing our products through our strategic distribution partner, Consolidate IT, based in the Netherlands. In fact, Consolidate IT will be with us at the IP Expo as we provide product demonstrations for potential customers, as well as members of the press and analyst communities. Of particular importance is that GreenBytes will be making a very significant new product announcement at this event that we expect to have a very disruptive effect on the market. We can’t wait to unveil it at the IP Expo.

PBN: How do you see your business evolving over the next few years?

PETROCELLI: Since starting the business back in 2007, GreenBytes has been an innovator and early adopter of cutting-edge storage technologies like inline deduplication (deduplicating data before it is written to disc vs. post-process deduplication which dedupes the data after it has been written to disc) and our use of solid state technology in our appliances which enables tremendous performance scalability.

Looking forward, our expectation is that we will continue to build global market share in the exponentially growing data storage market and continue to bring innovative, next-generation solutions to market.


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