Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Interview: Jonathan Kong, iQstor-
Jonathan Kong is CTO and co-founder of Newbury Park-based iQstor (www.iqstor.com), which is developing products for the storage market. I thought it would be interesting to talk to Jonathan about where he sees his company fitting in the market, and what his company is doing.
BK: What are iQstor's products, and how are they used?
JK: iQstor provides storage-based data services software for protecting mission-critical data. These enterprise-level data services features include storage virtualization, snapshot, mirroring, remote replication, and policy based storage provisioning. The storage management features are delivered within modular storage arrays which are highly integrated for ease of use.
The embedded replication and snapshot services protect data by enabling applications such as centralized backup, disaster recovery and business continuance. The virtualization and provisioning features enable centralized management and enhanced utilization of storage capacity. By providing storage capacity on demand, application availability and continuous data access are assured.
BK: Who are your customers, and what is your route and channels to market for your products?
JK: Our storage solutions are targeted at the data centers of small and mid-size businesses (SMB) which we feel are underserved. These customers have the same requirements for scalability, availability and performance as large enterprises. However they have not been able to afford the high cost of enterprise-level data services nor do they have the internal IT staff to manage complex solutions. iQstor's affordable storage with embedded data services, delivered in an easy to use integrated solution, addresses the major pain points of the SMBs.
iQstor does not sell direct to end-users. We market through channel partners such as storage system integrators and storage value added resellers. These partners are important to us because they have the relationship and trust of a customer base that relies on them to keep their IT infrastructure running and to keep them competitive with evolving technology.
BK: What do you see as your company's competitive advantage in this market?
JK: iQstor's storage solutions represent the fourth generation of a storage technology development first initiated in 1994. The nine years of increasingly mature storage technology has proven itself in enterprise level robustness in our field installations. As an early mover, iQstor is the first to deliver an integrated storage solution with a complete set of data services for the SMB market. Ownership of the storage services IP, ensures that we are uniquely positioned to deliver a cost effective, fully interoperable and feature rich solution to our target market.
BK: How are you funded?
JK: iQstor is a private company funded by its two founders. With our iQ1000 FC-FC storage system in production since August 2003 and our iQ1200 FC-SATA storage system available in second quarter 2004, we believe iQstor will reach the financial break-even point by the end of 2004.
BK: You built up a fairly large business in Integrix -- what led you to start iQstor, and what was the opportunity you saw in this market?
JK: iQstor's founders (Jason Lo and Jonathan Kong) originally joined forces at Integrix, Inc., a developer and integrator of storage and server solutions for the financial services, energy and telecommunications markets. We recognized the market shift from server centric to storage centric environment in mid-90's and led Integrix toward developing networked storage products.
iQstor's understanding of the factors impacting the growth/productivity gap - from acquisition, technology change to ongoing administration and management - spurred the creation of its approach to automating storage intelligence. By helping companies do more with less, iQstor enables them to shift the balance of IT spending priorities. Many agree that for storage networks to reach their fullest potential, simplification and automation of data and networks is essential.
We also recognized that the SMB organizations are underserved by existing solutions: enterprise-level systems which offer more capacity and capability than is economically feasible; or multi-vendor hardware and software solutions which require distinct levels of expertise, therefore adding to the administrative "opportunity cost". For these companies, iQstor offers a single source for enterprise-level functionality, in a scalable package.
We launched iQstor in January of 2002 to meet the increasing demand for embedded easy-to-use storage management tools.