81: Greybeards talk cloud storage with David Friend, Co-founder & CEO, Wasabi Technologies

This is our first time talking with David Friend, (@Wasabi_Dave) Co-founder and CEO, Wasabi Technologies, but he certainly knows his way around storage. He has started a number of successful companies, the last one prior to Wasabi was Carbonite, a cloud backup company. 

Before we get to the podcast, Howard Marks has retired from active GreyBeards co-hosting duty and has become Co-host Emeratus. We will all miss him and his astute insight. We wish him well. Howard did volunteer to be a co-host on the occasional podcast. So he will be back, just not a regular co-host anymore.

In his stead, Ray’s recruited a band of technical wizards that will share co-hosting duties with Howard. This is our first podcast with a new co-host, Matt Leib (@MBLeib). If you want to learn more about Matt his bio is on our About page and his website is linked in our menu above. Matt’s been a long time friend and chief IT architect for a number of firms in the past and present. Although he might not sport a grey beard, Matt certainly qualifies as a IT GreyBeard from our perspective.

One of the many things that make’s Wasabi cloud storage special is that it has no egress charges. Dave spent a lot of time after his last company talking to customers about cloud storage. Their number one complaint was unpredictable expense. Public cloud storage expense is unpredictable because it’s hard to predict data egress. With Wasabi cloud storage, customers get a one line invoice charge, just for the amount of data they are storing.

They also support immediate consistency. David said when customer applications receive an ack, their data has been received and can read back from anywhere in the world. Most other cloud storage vendors only support eventual consistency, which means “sometime” later the data on your cloud storage will be updated.

Wasabi does not support cloud compute. However, they do have software partners that can provide this. In some cases, these partners share proximity to Wasabi cloud data centers so access latencies can be minimized.

Their storage interface is fully S3 compliant and as mentioned above, have a number (>100) of “certified” software partners that can provide application storage access services, rather than having to use the S3 interface directly. Further, Wasabi supports both CommVault and Veeam for data protection cloud storage tiering.. 

Wasabi is also faster than AWS S3 storage because they’ve taken the time to optimize their writing to understand disk geometry, seeking and head switching. There’s upsides and downsides to this level of optimization. Yes you can write and subsequently read data faster but every new disk that comes along requires work to optimize to its unique geometry. For an example of their performance, David said that they can support direct surveillance camera video at 4K or 8K resolution to Wasabi cloud storage.

They are also cheaper than AWS S3. Dave mentioned Wasabi cloud storage is 1/5th the cost, on a GB/month basis, of AWS S3. We asked about Glacier support and he said at these prices, why add the complexity of another storage media.

Wasabi has 3 data centers, one in Virginia, one on the west coast of the US and the other in Amsterdam in Europe. The one in Europe is fully GDPR compliant. Wasabi supports data at rest encryption where the customer owns and holds encryption keys. They also support a WORM bucket, where you can supply an expiration date and the data will remain unmodified until that time has expired.

Matt asked if Wasabi could be used to replace all the storage at a data center. David said possibly for file data but not for block. However, customers would need to be aware that access latencies may suffer if they are far away from Wasabi data centers.

The podcast runs ~42 minutes. We feel that David qualifies as a GreyBeard. He . Ray and David could have talked at length optimizing disk storage performance. Also, this was Matt’s first time as a GreyBeard co-host and we think he did just fine. Listen to the podcast to learn more. .

David Friend, Co-Founder and CEO, Wasabi Cloud Systems

David Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi, a revolutionary cloud storage company. David’s first company, ARP Instruments developed synthesizers used by Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and even helped Steven Spielberg communicate with aliens providing that legendary five-note communication in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Friend founded or co-founded five other companies: Computer Pictures Corporation – an early player in computer graphics, Pilot Software – a company that pioneered multidimensional databases for crunching large amounts of customer data, Faxnet – which became the world’s largest provider of fax-to-email services, Sonexis – a VoIP conferencing company, and immediately prior to Wasabi, what is now one of the world’s leading cloud backup companies, Carbonite.

David is a respected philanthropist and is on the board of Berklee College of Music, where there is a concert hall named in his honor, serves as president of the board of Boston Baroque, an orchestra and chorus that has received 7 Grammy nominations. An avid mineral and gem collector he donated Friend Gem and Mineral Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

David graduated from Yale and attended the Princeton University Graduate School of Engineering where he was a David Sarnoff Fellow.

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