Analyst Q and A: Taking a storage deep dive with Randy Kerns, Senior Strategist at the Evaluator Group

September 9, 2011

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

Thanks to Randy for taking the time to answers our questions. Keep an eye out for him over this side of the pond too! He is teaching in the Netherlands 22nd-23rd September. More info on that here

Q.  Tell us a bit about yourself: 

I have been in the storage industry for over 30 years. I worked in product design and development for a number of large companies. I also have been in executive management for a number of companies in engineering, strategy, as CTO.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your analyst firm and its interest in data storage. 

Evaluator Group specializes in storage evaluations and analysis for both end user and vendor clients. We offer our services for strategy projects, technology evaluations and provide storage education for end users and re-sellers. Evaluator Group focuses on providing accurate and detailed information and not product promotions.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year? 

A couple of big things; the use of storage features in server virtualization and the use of SSDs, primarily for tiering

Q. How many storage events do you attend each year? 

On average 6 per year

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

The next one, always new things to learn

Q. What types of companies are likely to attract your attention this year? 

From a vendor, it would be a company that has a novel approach to applying technology to solve problems. For an end-user company, it would be a company that has an understanding   about technology and can apply it in their environment.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

I average 5 a week.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a company to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

 The best way is to first to provide an introduction by email, then a presentation in person or on the phone with a person(s) knowledgeable about the company and the technology.

Q. Who is worth listening to (about storage)? 

 The people who are worth paying attention to are individuals that have developed and delivered the products and also have both experience and success in their background.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

StorageSoup, a blog which I also enjoy writing for.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

I still like my iPhone.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in storage to date?

Solid State technologies, they have changed the design dynamics around performance and give new options to customers.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching stories?

Be factual, avoid the hyperbole.

Q. What was the best business trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

There have been so many great business trips, I couldn’t pick out just one.  Worst? Any that I have to fly through O’Hare International in Chicago, IL. No explanation needed.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

For breakfast, The Buff in Boulder, CO

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

 I do some social media, and I do have LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. My twitter account is @rgkerns

Q. Tell us something no one knows about you. Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

I live in Colorado and I’m an avid scuba diver. I volunteer for an education foundation, working with engineering students.


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