Tintri’s Trickovic: “Never say die”

Come back kid Tintri says revenues are growing again after 2020 being pretty much a year to forget. There’s a new management team, a container-influenced product strategy, a hardware refresh coming and a new sense of energy at this DDN subsidiary.

We took a look at some management changes at Tintri last week but didn’t get the whole picture. Gaps have ben filled in — not least concerning the company’s recent history — and a blog by Tintri SVP for Revenue Phil Trickovic puts forward some interesting observations.

Trickovic says: “In the face of impossible odds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles, there is always a path forward. With the proper motivation and focus, temporary failure does not mean the end … Tintri continues to thrive and grow, despite the massive obstacle that has been around for 18 months and counting.”

That massive obstacle is COVID-19 and it was exacerbated by, as we see it, Tintri losing its way in 2020. We get a sense of that from the company announcing that its new executive team — meaning Trickovic, VP Products Graham Breeze and Field CTO Brock Mowry — “has delivered approximately 25 per cent growth in revenue over the past two quarters due to the explosive demand for autonomous, adaptive and composable platforms.”  That was record quarter-on-quarter growth. 

Alex Bouzari.

Alex Bouzari, CEO, DDN and Tintri, was pleased as well. He said: “Our new executive team brings a proven track record and valuable experience … We warmly welcome our new team and look forward to seeing how they will continue to push the envelope of Tintri’s comprehensive, reliable and easy-to-deploy virtual data management platform.” 

This trio of new hires replaces previous Tintri sales head Tom Ellery and his team. Irony number one here is that all three newcomers exited Diamanti when that company ran into problems, and two of them — Trickovic and Breeze — were at Tintri before. They left in Fall 2019 to join … yes, Diamanti. Not a stellar move. Irony number two is that they joined Diamanti when Tom Barton was its CEO, and he had been Tintri’s CEO in the period when it was crashing before DDN bought it.

Irony number three is that Diamanti ran into problems at the same time as Tintri, thus opening Diamanti’s exit and Tintri’s entry doors for rehiring Trickovic and Breeze. Have they, so to speak, jumped from a frying pan into a fire though? Not at all, as the two recent quarters of growth show.

In fact, we heard that not one of Tintri’s large customers deserted it during its 2020 annus horribilis. That’s because the basic Tintri idea and software implementation — enabling VMware admins and database admins to manage storage infrastructure through VMware and database lens respectively — is so strong. It also suggest there is a lot of latent demand our there, waiting for a refreshed product to spark it into buying activity.

We understand that this vSphere/database storage management idea is being extended to containers as well, and that Tintri is going to embrace containerisation with enthusiasm and vigour. Ditto AIOps. Apparently the operating system, TXoS, was implemented in cloud-native form back in 2017 but that effort languished. Breeze has found a whole lot of other potential diamonds in Tintri’s software rough, like this, and the engineers are going full speed ahead to turn potential into product.

Our understanding is that there will be quite a strong flow of product news, both hardware and software, in the coming weeks and quarters. And that Tintri is going to catch up and get to a market position where it should have been months ago, if only the previous team had not relaxed their grip. As Trickovic says: “Never say die.” He wants Tintri to come back again — although this time from nowhere near the brink, as it was when DDN bought it.