Storage supremacy

Storage supremacy

Storing and retrieving big data from the cloud is not just a job for Global Relay’s CEO, Warren Roy. It’s a passion.

Creating a company that archives financial data for the world’s biggest banks and stock exchanges may not sound as sexy as launching a new social media platform like Instagram, but for Warren Roy, CEO of Vancouver-based Global Relay Communications Inc., there’s not a more exciting business anywhere in the world to be found.

“Seeing how hedge funds, investment dealers and banks interact with each other gives you an understanding of how the world works,” says Roy, founder of one of the financial industry’s leading cloud services companies. “Big data is anything but boring.”

The idea for Global Relay, which was founded in 1999 and today counts some 20,000 financial companies in 90 countries as clients, came to Roy when he realized that the move to digital communication for business was creating a need to store and keep track of a large volume of electronic data.

After the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals in the early 2000s, new regulations meant that financial firms and public companies were suddenly required to preserve and supervise their communications.

“This created a huge need for archiving solutions like ours, and we’ve been growing rapidly throughout the financial world and other highly regulated industries ever since,” says Roy, who’s in his early fifties and managed construction projects in Japan before launching his business.

By archiving data with Global Relay – the company stores e-mails, texts and other documents authorizing institutional trades on its own servers – clients can save time and money, because on-premise archiving involves a huge capital investment in storage hardware and software licences. Additional spending is required for upkeep and maintenance, and there is often a need for a complete upgrade every few years as systems become obsolete.

Global Relay takes care of all that work for them. “It’s a flexible and scalable solution that can be implemented in hours and is 100 per cent professionally managed,” says Roy. “Moving to the cloud lets companies focus on their core business, instead of worrying about IT.”

By using the cloud, regulators in 73 countries can easily get the information they need. If a regulator wants an e-mail or even a certain tweet, it submits a request to Global Relay, which then turns that request around in about 24 hours. The same task performed in-house would likely take a week or more, says Roy.

But how is Global Relay able to thrive and make a name for itself in a cloud storage industry dominated by the likes of HP, Microsoft and Symantec? “We do all of our development in-house,” says Roy. “This agility gives us an edge over some of the multibillion-dollar giants we compete with because we can be more adaptable with our solutions.”

Still, selling cloud services can be tricky. “One challenge is that some organizations are reluctant to move storage of their data off-site,” says Roy. “It has been a gradual process for people to learn that a cloud solution like ours actually offers better security.”

- Erik Heinrich / Photograph by: Kari Medig