Recently three vendors have told me that Pillar is in a bad way. Larry has pulled his funding. The company went solo before it had gained critical mass. The company hired lots of sales people, sales were disappointing so it fired lots of them. Now it's trying to rehire them.
Chris Drago is Pillar's marketing guy and reckons this fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) flood comes with he territory: "The most effective way for them of competing with Pillar is to throw the risk factor at the customer.You won't hear them making claims against the technology. We're getting more and more of that as we grow and become more of a threat."
What about the funding point?
"Pillar's funding model is very secure. We don't have to go out and re-sell ourselves to venture capitalists each time there is a new funding round. We don't have to re-apply or change our USP. It's much more stable than that."
What's progress like?
"We have more than 250 customers. I think that's more than 3PAR has and it's been on the market longer than Pillar Data. Customers have bought more than 12 petabytes of Pillar storage, which is over 500 systems shipped. The average selling price is increasing quarter by quarter. Indirect is taking off with about 65 percent of sales now going indirect; exactly where we want to be."
"For an eventual IPO we need to broaden our reach; we need the channel for that."
He says that Pillar people sometimes joke that they should announce a fifty thousand dollar coffee mug. All customers need to do to get there money back is to put it on the table when the EMC or NetApp storage sales rep turns up and there is an immediate price cut. Customers don't even have to buy Pillar product to save money. Drago said: "It's tough competing with that. No question." The customer will ask Pillar to follow suit and often it cannot, not having a VMware money gusher to fund such cuts.
Pillar is becoming more and more of a threat but the company is making progress and the past couple of years have: "been fantastic for us." The FUD is a sign of success, not a badge of failure. Bring it on.