What I Learned In 2015: Lief Morin, KeyInfo

Story by Lief Morin


Editor's note: Over the holidays we publish contributions from some of the movers and shakers in the community, with their reflections on the past year and their thoughts on the upcoming year. We'll be publishing these between now and the new year. For today's thoughts, we have Lief Morin, founder and CEO of KeyInfo (, a regional systems integrator which provides compute, storage and networking solutions and professional services for advanced software-defined data centers. (KeyInfo has also been a big sponsor for socaltech over the years).

What was the biggest news for you or your firm this year?

Lief Morin: For me, personally, it was participating in the Mongol Rally adventure. A grand car rally across Europe and Asia with a buddy of mine over the summer. The charity event is a 10,000-mile race in a farcically small and junky vehicle, with the goal of raising money $10K for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It was a great experience and brought back some great lessons to the business.

For Key Information Systems, it was building, productizing, and going-to-market with a complete set of data center services. We also launched Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Backup and Recovery as a Service (BRaaS) to our existing KeyCloud Infrastructure as a Service offering. We lit our own KeyInfo fiber ring, which provides advanced connectivity services to Ventura and Los Angeles counties. In addition, our data center passed stringent compliance and SSAE-16 and HIPPA/HITECH standards for our KeyCloud initiatives and more.

What was the biggest lesson you learned over the last year?

Lief Morin: First and foremost, being reminded that it is not just about the destination, but the journey itself. Whether it's for a cross-country race or building an IT organization, if you don't pay attention to your journey, you may miss something meaningful about the company's success or an important opportunity. And mid-course corrections are not bad things. You may have obstacles you were unprepared for, but these opportunities to learn and grow help you gain the experience and resiliency needed to run a successful company in a demanding industry.

These events reinforced how important it is to build a strong team with staying power. When we returned to the U.S. after our adventure, our teams had made significant advances, leaving us both in the perfect position to dive right back in. It was refreshing to see my team make so much progress in my absence.

Who or what do you think had the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2015?

Lief Morin: In the Enterprise Technology sector, arguably the biggest impact event was the announcement of Dell acquiring EMC for 67 Billion dollars. As a funny side note, when I did a Google search to fact check the amount, one of suggested searches was 67 billion Dollars in Rupees. This was a shockingly large number and questions abound about how they will pay this off in the marketplace. That being said, I am a fan of the more understated. The rise of the Internet of Things. This term has a terrible hype about it and there is no specific announcement from anyone that is more important than another. But the concept and the trend is one of the most compelling in the whole world with impact in every facet of human life. From shoes to ships to shopping to security, instrumentation and data collection is become so prevalent, it has become the new accepted normality. To quote a line from a favorite movie of mine Excalibur "Looking at the future is like looking at the cookie; you don't know really what it is like until you take a bite and then, of course, it's too late."

What are the technologies or things you think people ought to watch in 2016?

Lief Morin: There are four in particular I can think of. Here they are: Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) will make huge gains, giving organizations the ability to build, maintain and test a physical secondary data center that may be otherwise out of reach for most companies because it's complicated, expensive and resource intensive. With disaster recovery (DR) being one of the most critical IT initiatives, DRaaS yields a cost-effective alternative to maintaining an on-premise DR solution. With the right partner, DRaaS promises protection in the case of a disaster.

Hyperconverged infrastructures will see tremendous growth for companies who want to take advantage of integrated compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources using a software-centric approach.

Vendors and startups will embrace OpenStack and Dockers. With large well-known brands, Wal-Mart, for example, using this technology, we will definitely see more companies bring their applications to these platforms as they see their peers and competitors succeed with it.

Storage innovation will continue to gain speed. Flash storage will become more affordable. Persistent RAM will make its enterprise debut, as it holds the potential to disrupt the conventional computing architectures. And just for kicks, those who have been claiming tape will die will have to eat their words.

Lief Morin is KeyInfo's founder and chief executive. His role is to ensure KeyInfo retains its technological leadership and remains focused on client satisfaction. Lief founded KeyInfo in 1999 and leads by example, helping KeyInfo receive recognition and numerous awards for their work as a leading value added reseller, managed services provider, and technology integrator. In 2004, Lief was recognized by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list. Lief resides in Southern California and enjoys photography and martial arts.