Moonwalk's plans to float over the chasm

Australian storage company Moonwalk has big plans. Simon Sharwood explains how it hopes to take over the world!

LAST WEEK: read how Australia's Moonwalk takes on the storage world

Moonwalk's CEO Peter Harvey can talk the talk when it comes to technology start-ups.

"When you have a technology to take to the world, you need to get over the chasm," he says.

For Moonwalk, the vehicle the company hoped would get it over was Novell Netware, which it had identified as lacking robust storage and data management tools. The company therefore visited the global BrainShare conference to launch its products.

"By the end of the day three, three vendors had asked us about OEMing the software," Harvey recalls. "Three weeks later EMC came to us and we integrated with their Centerra products."

Customers also started to sign up, with UK tea company Twinings and Stanford University Moonwalk's first two customers.

Both were, Harvey says, delighted with the product.

At Twinings, "The first day they ran Moonwalk they reduced primary storage by 60% and shrank their backup window up by five hours." Stanford also has a good story to tell, with Harvey saying Moonwalk lets the University "runs a rule that says migrate everything that has not been touched for a month that delivers 90% reduction in primary storage."

To capitalise on those early success stories, Moonwalk has since "spent a year covering industries like government, finance, aerospace and education so we can say we are running in different verticals with different processing profiles."

In January 2007 the company started an analyst communications campaign in the USA and has since captured the attention of the storage industry, with Taneja Group Senior Analyst brad O'Neill proclaiming that "If Moonwalk's technology has not blown your mind and made you rethink all of your assumptions about how enterprise data management should be conducted, then you just haven't spent enough time with the software yet" and adding that "Moonwalk is a sneak peek into distributed enterprise data management, circa 2012."

Harvey recognises that this praise is both a blessing and a curse, because it has almost certainly awoken the industry to his company, its technology and their joint potential.

"Now we need to grab mind share before IBM or someone like that builds their own version," Harvey says, noting with perhaps a touch of nervousness that Moonwalk's Patents are pending, not set in stone.

"It will take a rival a year or two to build what we already have," he says. "We want to get a large enough footprint to be the clear leader. We want our technology embedded in a lot of other people's products. It all depends on how fast we can ramp up."

The company's plans to achieve the scale necessary to succeed see it focussing on the US market for the time being, as the sheer number of large-scale storage implementations to which Moonwalk can apply its technology makes it the most attractive target.

"If Silicon Valley loves it, the world will love it," Harvey says.

But he hopes Australia will have plenty of reason to love Moonwalk too.

"We would love to become a major player, but remain based in Australia," he says. "Moonwalk is a good Aussie story. We'd like to keep it going."

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