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How a lack of innovation put Overland under water

I wanted to post a quick commentary on Overland Data.

I recently ran across this post over at The Register that discusses the fact that Overland Data is at risk of being delisted from the NASDAQ due to a stock price below $1. (Ticker: OVRL, currently $.45)

In a past life, I sold Overland products and was very familiar with their tape and disk systems. They were one of the first companies to provide a cost effective D2D solution targeted at data protection. In 2003, they unveiled the REO 2000 product and 7 months later, they released the REO 4000 which provided greater capacity and scalability. Overland was on a roll with the new REO appliances, generating industry buzz and excitement while their tape library business remained strong.

Fast forward five years, and Overland’s situation looks bleak. Their D2D products have stagnated and their tape business has collapsed. Along the way, they have made a number of false starts including the purchase of Zetta Systems and the launch of the Ultamus array, which they later silently pulled from the market.

Situations like these make you realize the importance of innovation. Initially, Overland was very successful with their disk products, but were unable to maintain their position. As the market innovated, they did not and their financial and business performance suffered. Their current situation is a reminder that you must innovate or risk suffering a similar fate. Steve Jobs said this eloquently:

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

I feel fortunate to be working for a company that has a long history of innovation in data protection and there are more exciting things to come…