August 10, 2018

DataFrameworks acquired by Dell Technologies

DataFrameworks, an ISV founded in 2009 as a consulting and IT service company developing ClarityNow, a file management software, just got acquired by Dell technologies.

The company has extended the capability of the software with analytics on top of its asynchronous file monitoring features.

This is a strange acquisition from Dell as several other strong and more comprehensive solutions exist on the market such Komprise. I anticipate a very low acquisition price as there is no real IP here just a good software.

August 9, 2018

Exten Technologies out of stealth

Exten Technologies took advantage of the 2018 Flash Memory Summit (FMS) to finally unveil its structure, team and product. The company is led by Craig Gilmore who was the last CEO of Mangstor who finally disappeared from the market and the entity is based in Austin, TX like Mangstor.

The company presents itself as a pioneer of NVMe over Fabrics, pretty strange for a very recent company as some other appeared on the market a "long" time ago.

Exten develops HyperDynamic a storage software fully compliant with the NVMe protocol that provides high performance with less than one microsecond of overhead latency, ready for high demanding data centers.

The Exten architecture is fully aligned with the NVMe open standards and doesn't require proprietary hardware or software lock-in and supports Redfish and Swordfish API. HyperDynamic invites vendors to build a new JBOF approach by moving non-volatile memory, Flash and 3D XPoint SSDs from traditional storage and server systems to fabric-attached enclosures supporting Intel x86, AMD x64 and customs SoC supporting NICs from Broadcom, Chelsio, Intel, Mellanox and Solarflare. This is a new pendular movement towards storage networks after recent moves back to DAS. Exten just received the Best of Show Technology Innovation Award at FMS 2018 for HyperDynamic.

August 6, 2018

No more sound neither image from Mangstor

Mangstor, one of the few pioneers of NVMe over fabrics, aka NVMef, flash array with Apeiron Data Systems, Excelero, Pavilion Data Systems, FlashGrid, E8 Storage or DSSD, acquired by EMC in 2014 and finally stopped in 2017, to name a few pure players, continues to make strange things.

After several months of bizarre message on his website related to a redesign of its web site, we have now a full disconnect between the domain name and the content as we're redirected to the Wix default fault page. The domain was registered via GoDaddy in 2012, updated in March 2018 with an expiration date now in March 2019. Bizarre. How a company playing in a very hot market could disappear like that? management issues? technology problems? lack of finance?... It's a real mystery.

Paul Prince, last CTO, left the company in May 2017 and David Ridgeway, VP Product Management, even before in January 2017, following Trevor Smith founding CEO who quit in December 2016 replaced by Craig Gilmore for a few weeks or even months, now CEO of Exten Technologies. This story is definitely over, what a crash in a hot market.

July 20, 2018

Joe Vranicar joins Datrium as Chief Revenue Officer

Datrium, leader in enterprise HCI, announced recently the appointment of Joe Vranicar as lead of sales following the arrival of a new CEO a few weeks ago. He came from AWS, Sprinklr and VCE like Tim Page, and had past experiences at EMC, Cisco, Juniper and HP. The company seen as the leader in high-end HCI provider is now ready to shake the market with a clear acceleration in the next weeks. It's now more a question of sales execution as the product really excels.

July 19, 2018

RStor appoints senior advisors

RStor, emerging player developing a multi-cloud compute service, just announced the appointment of Riccardo Di Blasio and Steve Mullaney as advisors to the board of directors. Riccardo came from Cohesity, EMC and VMware and Steve was CEO of Nicira acquired by VMware and before was at Palo Alto Networks, Blue Coat Systems or Force10 Networks to name a few.

At the same time RStor recruits Tony Gaughan as SVP Engineering.

To better understand what RStor develops I invite you to read my 2 posts especially the recent one, as the first story was essentially the discovery of the company more than one year ago.

July 18, 2018

Clumio, the new adventure for Poojan Kumar

We discovered recently Clumio the name of the new company founded by Poojan Kumar, former CEO of co-founder of Pernix Data, sold to Nutanix in September 2016.

Clumio was founded in October 2017 and we see Mike Speiser from Sutter Hill Ventures and Mark Leslie from Leslie Ventures as founding VC and board members. The company is based in Sunnyvale and LinkedIn shows 4 employees. We don't know a lot of things about Clumio but it seems to develop a public cloud SaaS data platform with Kubernetes and Docker containers, AWS and a serverless approach. Deserve a follow-up for sure.

July 12, 2018

Tintri, close to the cliff

Anticipating an out of cash period following a high rate cash burn, Tintri voluntary filled July 10th a petition for bankruptcy aka chapter 11.

A few hours later, DDN declared its intent to acquire all of the assets of Tintri. This transaction is not guaranteed to be successful and seems to be the only solution for employees and customers.

Tintri was founded in 2008 and raised a total of $262.2M with 8 rounds. The 1st product release came in March 2011. Annual figures show that the company did $49.8M in 2015, $86M in 2016, $125.1M in 2017 and $125.9M in 2018 illustrating a rapid growth for 3 years except last year which is really flat.

Having difficulties to raise a new round from VCs, Ken Klein, CEO, and his team have decided to make the company public and it was an error but did they have really an other alternative? Not sure. The IPO took place June 30th 2017 at $7 per share from a previous plan in the range $10.5-12.5 and gave a valuation of $216.4M, really a drop from $785M in 2015.

More recently as the IPO has crystalized a new financial difficulty, Tintri has recruited Tom Barton as CEO but he stayed less than a quarter having faced the huge challenge and difficulty.

Following Intel Lustre entity acquisition, DDN confirms if needed to be the #1 private storage company with a revenue of $300M in 2016. It is also confirmed with its presence in the bi-annual storage unicorn report published recently. It’s a new market segment for DDN who understood the business opportunity Tintri and the installed base represent claiming more than 1,000 enterprise customers. It also brings to DDN analytics and VM automation capabilities that can be potentially leveraged by other DDN products like HPE did with InfoSight following Nimble Storage acquisition. We’ll learn more about that move for DDN as the company participates to the December IT Press Tour.

But it invites us to ask a question: even if Tintri has developed a real IP, does the market really need a dedicated VM-aware storage? Facts show negative answers illustrated by Atlantis Computing, Evostor, NexGen and Virsto or CloudByte, Maxta, StorMagic, Tegile, and Gridstore now HyperGrid.

July 6, 2018

LucidLink raised a new round

LucidLink, a cloud file storage emerging player, just announced a new seed round of $5.5M from during The recent IT Press Tour. This VC round was led by S28 Capital associated with Fathom Capital, Bain Capital Ventures and Baseline Ventures. The total raised so far reached a new bar of $7.1M. The company is now ready for a new period of development well managed by Peter Thompson and George Dochev. We add LucidLink to our startup radar...

June 29, 2018

Datera, ready for a new era

Datera, one of the Software-Defined Storage (SDS) emerging leader, enters a new era. The IT Press Tour crew has the privilege to meet the exec team during a superb session a few days ago.

Founded in 2013 with a product launch in Q2 2016, the company has raised $40M in one round. Since last capital investment received in 2016, the company didn't raise any other round so we expect it will be the case soon to accelerate this new era illustrated by the arrival of Chris Cummings as CMO. The team is pretty impressive, all having strong track records in various companies.

The company is leading a wave of new players delivering the promise of SDS and for Datera the flavor is a block interface. By promise, I mean transforming a rack of servers into a gigantic pool of storage. In just words, Datera replaces big block arrays from legacy players by an innovative storage software platform very rich in term of Data Services dedicated to Tier 1 applications and data. A key differentiator is the programmable aspect of the platform aligned with the devops and applications requirements, it is facilitated by a serie of templates delivered with the product. Well known in the OpenStack environment, Datera extends now its market footprint and targets enterprise and service providers around containers and bare metal needs. The company has more than 50 installations.

Datera just introduced the 3.2 release with us with several key features illustrated by the following slide. Object storage flavor is provided by Minio, one of the fastest growing and best object storage platform on the market, so an obvious choice. The other advantage is the performance delivered by the platform: 200K IOPS at 200ms latency per node and the Datera engine has proven its linearity so pretty easy to predict the configuration based on IOPS and latency needs. 6PB is the new capacity with high capacity nodes of 96TB, remember with speak here about primary storage.

The product supports active-active geo/stretched clusters based on data replication, erasure coding will arrive in the future. The team also confirmed that NFS will arrive in the fall to finally deliver a unified multi-protocol SDS solution, pretty unique on the market. The product is sold with a annual subscription based on capacity.

In term of business, Datera is really hardware agnostic and we understood that some partners agreement should be announced pretty soon, probably second half of they year and potentially aligned with VMworld end of august. So far, Cisco, Dell and HPE are 3 brands well pushed by Datera.

Packet, one customer invited at the session, confirmed the deployment of Datera on his 18 data centers aligned with 18 clusters with 1PB of storage.

Datera confirms that Data Services are fundamental. Storage platform with lack of such data services will have serious trouble in the future and I even predict they will disappear soon as value is very limited. I remember having pushing and promoting such developments but it was pretty difficult with people who didn't understand market trends and customers' needs.

June 28, 2018

Western Digital multiplies announcements

Western Digital, the American storage giant, has made a series a product announcement during The IT Press Tour for its data center activity. The company unveiled essentially 3 products to support its data center strategy around Big and Fast Data: an extension of the IntelliFlash N-Series member of its system line for primary and secondary usage, a new OS release for its ActiveScale object storage solution, a typical secondary storage product, and a new hybrid storage server named Ultrastar Serv60+8 that belongs to its platform line. The first two announcements show a development effort from WDC on its 2 acquisition, ActiveScale from Amplidata acquired in 2015 and Tegile swallowed more recently in September 2017.

Phil Bullinger, SVP and GM, Data Center Systems, Platforms and Systems, at Western Digital, covered these products. First for ActiveScale, the product receives the 5.3 operating system release offering a Unified Data Access, a replication feature able to copy an on-prem instance to AWS at the bucket level, the support of Docker, like many other players, and the 12TB FIPS HDD support. ActiveScale offers also now a better storage density with 20% gain. The company continues to market 19 nines which is like a dream. On that object storage part, nothing new in fact as several other object storage vendors already offered object and file access to the same content. I have introduced that to the market in 2013. The CIO of WDC was invited to illustrate all his department usages and we noticed that they coupled ActiveScale with Komprise.

For the IntelliFlash N-Series, the business unit leader introduced 2 new models N5240/N5280 and N5840/N5880 with new capacity, a flexible data reduction method, a non-disruptive volume copy and non-disruptive data migration and finally a fast file copies mechanism. Globally these new systems representing the unified block + file storage solutions from WDC offer 1.5 to 2.5 performance improvement.

Last and interesting launch was the Ultrastar Serv60+8, a hybrid 4U server with 60 HDD, SSD or Hybrid drives associated with 8 SAS, SATA or NVMe SSD drives. This platform receives 2 Xeon processors and promotes ArticFlow and IsoVibe, 2 innovations, the first dedicated to the cooling of the platform, and the second relate to the vibration isolation.

These new products iterations represent a strategic direction for WDC that clearly desire to install and penetrate seriously the data center business. We'll see how the market especially partners I mean customers and other vendors will react and adopt these as the product line is very consistent illustrating very interesting directions.