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What is Delphix? Here’s My Perspective

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I'm at a bar in the Mission District of San Francisco with some friends, and someone asks me what I do. I rattle off my go-to response…

I'm at a bar in the Mission District of San Francisco with some friends, and someone asks me what I do. I rattle off my go-to response: "I work at an enterprise software company called Delphix in Menlo Park. We pioneered the data virtualization market."

I receive a blank stare. They've never heard of it, and I suspect that any more details will send their eyeballs rolling into the back of their head. I've come to terms with the fact that there are hundreds of other tech companies in Silicon Valley that are grossly misspelled, end in -ly, or roll off the tongue like "Aviato" that peak more of an interest during an initial encounter.

Keep in mind that I'm twenty-four years old, and most of my peers don't even know what Oracle does (which certainly doesn't work in your favor when your company virtualizes data in Oracle databases). In the past, I have tailored a short description for my typical bar audience:

"Companies like Uber run their applications on databases. Every time a developer makes a change to the Uber app--like when they added UberEATS--they need to make a copy of a database to test that everything still works properly before releasing the new version on the App Store. The challenge is that making a copy of a database takes forever and also takes up lots of storage. Think about how long it takes you to backup all of your music, which is just a few gigabytes. Well, we're talking terabytes here..."

In many cases, it's best to stick with the 10-word version. Not because Delphix isn't interesting--just that when you're explaining it to someone who isn't familiar with the world of enterprise software, it's difficult to do it justice.

Even for those in enterprise IT, there can be a bit of a learning curve. Delphix isn't simple technology. It's in a relatively nascent market with relatively few administrative users, which doesn't necessarily lend itself to virality. In most cases, you're starting from scratch.

A conversation with someone in IT might start like this: "Delphix helps IT organizations complete application projects faster by delivering data 100x faster." For a QA manager, it might go like this: "Delphix gives you access to test data in minutes." Or for a test data manager, "it's the delivery mechanism and masking solution in your test data management strategy." The truth is, I have a repertoire of responses to the question, "What is Delphix?"

Sometimes we get creative in how we tell the Delphix story.

"Similar to how VMware virtualized servers in the early 2000s, Delphix virtualizes the data in your databases. It's the next revolution." Or, "it's like streaming video on demand vs. going to Blockbuster to pick out a tape." Sometimes, our customers--the ones who really understand the pain because they feel it every day--get creative, too. After explaining Delphix to one CIO, he regurgitated Delphix with a new spin: "so it's like a Xerox machine for your data." Couldn't have put it better myself.

The beauty in answering the question "What is Delphix?" is that there is no right answer. There are a million ways to describe Delphix, and each one is as legitimate as the next (my favorite, though, is our founder Jed Yueh's blog post on the ten super powers that Delphix introduces for IT organizations to solve their data management problems).

While it really depends on whom you're speaking with, underlying this creativity is a plain and simple truth: Delphix solves a clear, well-defined challenge that every large IT organization has. At a testing conference I attended this week, almost everyone had a "data problem." Delphix is not an app to have someone walk your dog, or an app to have someone bring you food--it's a revolutionary solution that every IT organization needs. Whether it's developing a new application, testing an ERP upgrade, or securely onboarding to the cloud--Delphix solves a critical constraint in almost every IT project.

It's a mere matter of time before Delphix crosses the chasm and becomes the new status quo (and with that, achieves universal brand recognition). My awkward bar encounters, I hope to find, are simply the growing pains of pioneering a new market.