GreenBytes takes on Internet clutter reduction

By Michael Persson
Contributing Writer
Here’s the problem. Say you take a picture and email it to friends and family. And they, in turn, pass it along to another group of eager viewers. What you have is one image copied umpteen times and occupying valuable space in the fast-filling virtual world. More

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GreenBytes takes on Internet clutter reduction

PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
CLEAN SWEEP: Stephen O’Donnell, president and CEO of GreenBytes, has helped the company develop a niche in the desktop virtualization business, thanks to the company’s already groundbreaking work in data deduplication.
By Michael Persson
Contributing Writer
Posted 9/16/13

Here’s the problem. Say you take a picture and email it to friends and family. And they, in turn, pass it along to another group of eager viewers. What you have is one image copied umpteen times and occupying valuable space in the fast-filling virtual world.

For companies working with large amounts of information, space is both premium and a major expense. “Data volumes around the world are growing 40 percent every three years,” said Stephen O’Donnell, CEO and president of the Providence-based company, GreenBytes. “If you drew a graph showing this it would look like a hockey stick.”

From the blade to the angled shaft, that’s a steep climb. Without an electronic editing system, the shaft has the potential to carry on indefinitely.

Over the past year, GreenBytes has enjoyed a meteoric rise because it has developed a way to do away with the shaft of the hockey stick using technology that duplicates and compresses data, sending all those information units into the cloud-distribution system. This cuts storage requirements by up to 98 percent.

That picture sent to friends and family and everyone else? GreenBytes will store the original, make it accessible and delete the facsimiles.

In the role of electronic clutter reducer, GreenBytes stands alone in its self-made marketplace. The reason is GreenBytes vIO, a nifty piece of technology that works by inline deduplication – data compression – technology to cut desktop virtualization storage needs.

GreenBytes culls data in flight, removing redundant material in real time before it is written to the storage device. “Can you imagine the cost if you were to put 5 petabytes on to flash,” said O’Donnell, referring to the term for 1 byte times 10 to the 15th power. Instead of supporting, say, the 30 GB-plus footprint traditionally required for each full virtual desktop, GreenBytes’s vIO requires 1.5 GB per desktop. “It’s as if it wasn’t there,” O’Donnell said.

In 2012, the 5-year-old company targeted a poorly served market and took over. That year, it received $20 million from international investors, including Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, while doubling the size of its business.

“Oh, we planned for it,” explained O’Donnell. “It was a single-minded endeavor.” Working with the titans of global IT providers like IBM, Dell and Fujitsu, Greenbytes is marrying its technology to work with these companies’ products.

During the last week of August, company executives were scheduled to attend VM World, a conference for IT professionals in San Francisco, to demonstrate their technology. Does GreenBytes feel trepidation about rubbing shoulders with IT companies from some of the tech hubs like Cambridge and Silicon Valley? A nervous smile of hesitation?

O’Donnell laughed: “We’ll smile, all right, when we kill them in the marketplace.” •

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