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Storage analyst insight: Q&A with veteran high flyer Dennis Martin, Founder and president of Demartek

September 23, 2011

By Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

We’re delighted to hook up with Dennis Martin, founder and President of Demartek. Demartek is a computer industry analyst organization with its own on-site test lab. Its focus is lab validation testing and performance testing of storage and related hardware and software products.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself:

I wrote my first computer program at age 12 in 1971 on a programmable adding machine and have been working with computers ever since.

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

Demartek started from the beginning doing lab work, and we like to run real-world applications on hardware and software solutions in our lab, and then write about them after running them. We focus on the technical and deployment side of the business. We have servers, networking and storage infrastructure in our lab, and find that we must keep current with the latest generation of hardware and software.

Q. What’s hot in storage this year?

Solid state storage, or solid state drive technology is very hot. I decided last year that all of our production desktop machines should boot from SSDs, so we purchased and deployed those. We boot our new lab servers from SSDs, and my current laptop computer uses an SSD. We also have several SSDs of various types in our lab that we use for testing.

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

Somewhere in the neighborhood of ten industry conferences and trade shows per year, plus half a dozen or so vendor analyst events.

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to?

I enjoy speaking at conferences about technology theory and practice, so my favorites are the ones where I speak. (Dennis will be presenting at SNW Europe in Frankfurt more info here)

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

Because we need to keep up with the latest technologies, any company doing something with SSDs or the latest hardware and software technologies, interfaces, etc.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week?

I usually do a few per week.

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

Email would be the best, followed by telephone.

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

There are many good sources of storage information. I always prefer those who have deep technical knowledge in addition to general industry knowledge.

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

I don’t read any one blog regularly, but find that I read a variety of blogs depending on the subject of interest at the time.

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

I have a fairly new smart phone that seamlessly synchronizes my email, calendar and contacts with my desktop computer and allows me to run Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.

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

SSD technology and the major transformation that it is causing in the industry.

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

Because we like to run technology in our lab, the story should explain the technology in-depth, show how it is used and its benefits.

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

I don’t have a single best trip, but any trip where I get to speak about technology and listen to users discuss how they use technology is a great trip. The only bad trips I’ve been on involve problems with airline travel getting to and from the destination, especially missed connections across the Atlantic.

Q. What’s your favourite restaurant?

I like a variety of restaurants and types of food, and can’t say that I have a single favorite.

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

I use Twitter (@demartek) and LinkedIn for business, but tend to use them for announcements or news items, not for general chatter. I use FB for personal connections to friends and family.

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 love anything that allows a human to fly through the air. This includes commercial jets, small airplanes, helicopters, hang gliders, hot air balloons, etc. I also have a small radio controlled helicopter.

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