An information storage architect since 1987, we help organizations store, manage, and protect one of their most critical assets—information. Our solutions and services span four practice areas:
Backup and Recovery—Datalink backup and recovery solutions mitigate risk by helping companies protect and quickly recover information.
Consolidation and Virtualization—Designed to simplify management and improve productivity. Datalink consolidation and virtualization solutions help improve efficiencies of data storage infrastructures and the staff that manage them.
Business Applications—Datalink storage, backup, and recovery solutions are designed to achieve stringent data availability requirements found in high performance business application environments.
Archive and Compliance—Aligned with increasing compliance requirements, Datalink solutions help companies simplify the retention, protection, and discovery of information.
We offer a comprehensive suite of services spanning analysis, design, implementation, management and support. Our highly skilled technical services and practice management teams test and compare data storage technologies available from the leading manufacturers and software developers. Once a product is approved for our solution sets, our technical services team has the flexibility to choose from the best of these storage technologies to solve our customers' growing data storage needs. In addition, our support staff ensures the continued success of our data storage solutions for each customer. We believe these value-added services and our adherence to the highest quality standards have resulted in superior levels of customer satisfaction.
The Data Storage Industry
Information technology (IT) departments are faced with a daunting challenge of rapidly expanding amounts of data to manage. Coupled with this growth are increasing demands for availability of this data for day-to-day business and to meet regulatory requirements. At the same time, the worldwide economic downturn has caused IT departments to reduce IT spending and headcount. As a result, we expect customers will continue to look for alternatives to dramatically simplify management of storage infrastructures and increase productivity of existing IT teams.
To address the increased need for efficiency, we anticipate that organizations will continue to consolidate and virtualize their server environments. We expect this will result in continued demand and requirements for shared storage infrastructures tuned to virtualized server environments. With a unified virtualization strategy, organizations will improve management and utilization, as well as reduce costs.
We expect that disk-based data protection, SAN/NAS convergence, storage management software, and storage services will also be affected by the economic downturn and will show little or no growth in 2009. Nevertheless, organizations recognize the importance and value of data as a strategic and competitive asset. Employees, customers and suppliers demand uninterrupted access to mission-critical data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a result, the ability to efficiently store, manage, and protect this data will continue as one of the most important aspects of business-critical decision-making, increasing the need for high-performance, scalable and highly available solutions.
In light of the importance of data to businesses, we believe that organizations will continue to dedicate a significant percentage of their information technology budgets, which we expect to be flat to down from 2008 levels, to data storage projects. We believe that capital investment priorities will include:
Enhanced data protection and recovery capabilities.
Increased need for high throughput performance, greater frequency of backups, quick restoration of data and stringent data availability requirements are key factors. We expect these key factors to drive the continued migration to disk-based protection solutions. Many of our customers have deployed disk-based backup and recovery solutions. With the convergence of key technologies, such as data deduplication, WAN optimization, and advanced heterogeneous replication and snapshot software, we expect the benefits customers receive from disk-based backup will increase, resulting in increased demand.
Continued migration to networked storage infrastructures using virtualization technologies.
A comprehensive virtualization strategy should encompass both server and storage environments. Without this integrated approach, companies cannot realize the full benefits of virtualization. We expect organizations will seek the professional services of a provider, like Datalink, to assess their environment and conduct a gap analysis, as well as design and deploy storage solutions tuned to their virtualized server environment. This approach will help organizations increase the quality of service and decrease the total cost of ownership.
Retention and retrieval of data to address Email, regulatory, compliance and litigation support issues.
Long-term data retention has become the norm with recent industry regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and SEC section 17a-4 (electronic communication preservation) mandating the retention of documents for many years. The consequences can be great if a company does not have the proper retention of documents for compliance, including stiff monetary penalties.
Acceptance and growing need for storage services.
We expect several factors to drive IT organizations to increasingly outsource storage-related services including consulting, implementation and support. They include the continued strategic importance of data storage, growing complexity of networked storage environments, the scope of spending on storage, and the downsizing of internal IT departments in light of current economic conditions.
The Datalink Opportunity
The increased need for data storage and the development of sophisticated, enterprise-class information data storage systems have created a demand for independent data storage solution providers, such as Datalink. Both potential customers and data storage device manufacturers are looking to independent storage solutions providers such as Datalink primarily for the following reasons:
Pressures on Customers. We believe organizations will increasingly look outside their in-house technical staff to independent information storage architects, such as Datalink, for specialized expertise. Networked storage architecture design is complex. Advanced functionalities, such as disk-based backup and recovery and virtualization, further increase the level of complexity. Although organization-wide data storage solutions, such as SANs, are designed to ease data management functions, these systems are difficult to understand and implement because they integrate diverse operating systems, hardware and software. In addition, there continues to be a steady influx of new products and technologies introduced to the market. In-house information technology departments prefer to focus their efforts on mission-critical applications. Accordingly, they often turn to outside storage experts that are able to research, design, implement and support networked storage solutions. The downsizing of IT departments in light of current economic conditions also necessitates increased reliance on external service providers such as us.
Pressures on Manufacturers. We believe manufacturers increasingly rely on channel partners such as us for three principal reasons:
Sophisticated disk-based backup and recovery solutions require the integration of highly specialized products made by a variety of manufacturers. A typical enhanced data recovery architecture, for instance, can utilize components such as software, tape libraries, and disk systems, each from a different manufacturer. High-end data storage manufacturers generally focus on only a portion of the overall enhanced data recovery system, leaving companies like us to integrate comprehensive networked data storage solutions from the best available products and technologies.
Gross profit margins have been under pressure for many storage companies. Because of the high cost of maintaining a national sales and marketing organization, high-end data storage manufacturers have focused their resources on their research and development functions. This strategy requires them to leverage their sales and marketing functions by partnering with companies such as Datalink.
With the recent economic downturn, many manufacturers have reduced the size of their sales and marketing and service organizations. Because of this they can leverage their sales and marketing and service functions by partnering with companies such as Datalink.
We believe we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this significant opportunity for the following reasons:
Expertise. We have been implementing sophisticated data storage solutions for over twenty years. This experience has given us significant expertise in understanding and applying data storage technologies and has allowed us to earn and retain the trust and confidence of our customers and suppliers. We invest in and train resources to differentiate our company, adapt to the ever-changing needs of our customers and capitalize on opportunities.
Independence. Unlike many of our competitors, we are independent of any manufacturer or particular technology. Our customers are increasingly using open systems computing architectures, which can combine products from multiple manufacturers. Our customers value our independence and rely on us to choose the best available hardware and software and tailor it to their individual needs.
The Datalink Solution
We combine our technical expertise, the best products from leading manufacturers and comprehensive services to meet each customer's specific needs. Our services include:
At the beginning of an engagement, we place considerable emphasis on formulating a needs analysis based on each customer's business initiatives, operating environment and current and anticipated data storage requirements. While our focus is on each customer's unique situation, we bring to each engagement our extensive product knowledge and the experience we have gained from providing data storage solutions for over twenty years to customers in numerous industries.
Datalink assessment services provide customers with objective guidance on developing data storage strategies that optimize their resources, leverage their existing environments and facilitate cost-effective growth for the future. These services provide an independent viewpoint to align people, processes and technologies with business objectives. These services help organizations maximize current investments, outline recommendations for future purchases and provide assurance that storage infrastructures are efficient, reliable and scalable.
Once we have completed our initial analysis, we begin the design phase of the project. Our professional services teams work together to design a system that meets the customer's data storage needs and budget. Our independence permits us to choose from a wide range of technologies in order to fuse together the appropriate hardware, software and services for each project.
Datalink designs storage infrastructures based on each customer's developed detailed business requirements. The engagement begins with a definition of the project's objectives, scope and key milestones. The Datalink team then prepares an outline of the schedule and deliverables. Following a thorough analysis, the team prepares a comprehensive blueprint of the storage solution, including a detailed design schematic, key implementation milestones and recommendations for handling potential configuration issues to ensure a smooth transition to the new storage environment.
Once we design and test a system, we formulate a detailed project implementation plan with our customers to meet their financial and operating objectives and minimize disruption to their operations. We oversee the timely delivery of hardware and software products to the customer's location. We then coordinate the installation with our technical services team, or personnel from the equipment manufacturer, and complete the installation at the customer's site using industry best practices.
We augment the staff of our customers by offering onsite professional services resources. These resources provide such services as backup and recovery administration, project management and storage administration. With the burden removed from internal IT teams, customers realize improved productivity and system performance.