Storage Soup

Apr 30 2009   3:40PM GMT

Quantum survives rough fiscal year

Dave Raffo Dave Raffo Profile: Dave Raffo

Quantum completed what its CEO called a “challenging” fiscal year at the end of March, and the fourth quarter was similar to the entire year for the backup vendor. Quantum continued to increase year-over-year disk backup and software sales around its deduplication products while its tape sales declined. But its disk backup sales decreased from the previous quarter, leaving Quantum with a long way to go to accomplish its goal of becoming a market leader.

“I think that the emphasis you heard on the [earnings] call is that it’s very much about getting through [fiscal] ’09 while making a lot of changes in the company,” CEO Rick Belluzzo said on the company’s earnings call Wednesday afternoon. “We think our business model was demonstrated last quarter that this can be a very solidly profitable business. There is a lot of cash generation potential. But we really need to focus on building revenue with our new model, with new products focused on tape of course, but as well aggressively on our disk systems and software business.”

Quantum lost $356 million for the year — including a $339 million one-time, non-cash charge for goodwill impairment — and its revenue for the fourth quarter and full year were down substantially from the previous year. It did show a $4 million non-GAAP profit for last quarter, discounting amortization of intangibles, stock-based compensation charges and restructuring costs. But while its $24 million revenue from disk and software last quarter was nearly double the previous year, it’s a far cry from the $79 million recorded by dedupe leader Data Domain.

Belluzzo said over the next year Quantum will have two major software releases and a new hardware platform for its DXi deduplication VTL family. He didn’t get specific, but emphasized the importance of replication and increasing the scale of the systems. He said Quantum also plans a “significant” new release of its StorNext software that moves data between storage tiers.

“[Our] vision includes our ability to deliver a single scalable disk-based architecture with deduplication and replication that can scale for protecting and managing a terabyte of data and remote office to more than 200 terabyte at a data center, and is also compatible with solutions from multiple vendors such as EMC,” Belluzzo said.

EMC has been selling Quantum’s deduplication software in its disk libraries since around the middle of last year. Dell has also said it will OEM Quantum’s dedupe software, although it has yet to announce any products.

“We are working with Dell on our deduplication technology. When are they going to launch a Dell-branded product? I can’t say,” Quantum CFO Jon Gacek said of when pressed about Dell on the earnings call.

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