15 Leading Data Storage Startups

Tuesday Oct 25th 2016 by Paul Rubens
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These data storage startups are leading the way with cloud, scalable performance, interface flexibility, analytics, and quality-of-service controls.

The data storage market has become a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. Here are 15  data storage startups that are generating excitement.

Software defined networking, the cloud, solid state storage:  there are many reasons why the days of buying an expensive storage system from an established vendor may well be numbered. Here are 15 innovative startups that may provide a better way to meet your storage needs.

Data Storage Startups

1. Cloudistics

Senior management: Najaf Husain (AppAssure, Bain Capital Ventures,) founder and CEO. Dr Srinidhi Varadarajan (Dell, AppAssure,) founder and CTO.

Cloudistics offers on premise cloud infrastructure for virtual applications and containers in the form of a complete enterprise cloud of network, compute, storage, virtualization and management in a single platform. Its Elastic Flash Storage (EFS) is a federated virtualized storage architecture that is optimized for flash and scales independently of compute and networking resources, and its Adaptive Overlay Network (AON) technology  is a software defined virtual network that integrates with storage and compute virtualization.

The company closed $15 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures in June 2016.

2. Hedvig

Senior management: Avinash Lakshman (Amazon, Facebook) founder and C EO. Srinivas Lakshman, co-founder & VP, products and operations.

Hedvig's distributed storage platform is designed for both private and public clouds. It provides a high performance, elastic storage system built with low-cost commodity hardware to support any application, hypervisor, container or cloud. Enterprise storage services can be selected on a per-volume basis and include thin provisioning, disaster recovery replication, inline deduplication and compression, and storage virtualization.

The company closed $18 million in a Series B funding round led by Vertex Ventures in June 2015.

3. Quobyte

Senior management: Felix Hupfeld (Google) co-founder and CTO. Björn Kolbeck (Google) co-founder and CEO.

Quobyte was founded by two ex-Google employees in 2013. The company's software turns servers into a horizontal software-defined storage infrastructure that can host any application. It decouples configuration and operations from the underlying hardware and is fully fault tolerant, allowing for flexible data placement. As a real file system Quobyte comes with interfaces for block storage (VMs and databases), NFS, Hadoop/Spark and S3. A policy-driven engine ensures that data is stored on the best medium in the right location.

Investors include High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and Target Partners.

4. Datrium

Key staff: Brian Biles (EMC,) co-founder and CEO, Hugo Patterson (EMC) co-founder and CTO, Sazzala Reddy (EMC) co-founder, Ganesh Venkitachalam (VMware) co-founder, Boris Weissman (VMware) co-founder.

Datrium's DVX server-powered storage solution provides elastic primary storage for VMs with faster response times than all-flash arrays, at a cost that is less than half the $/GB of hybrid arrays, the company claims. The DVX system uses dumb DVX NetShelf arrays with up to 29 TB usable capacity for storing persistent data, with data services such as inline deduplication and RAID supplied by DVX Hyperdriver software run in the VMware hosts which access the data. This software offloads reads and accelerates writes, performs all dynamic performance management, and provides VM-centric administration.  The VMware hosts also have their own fast-access flash caches.

Total funding comes to $55 million from individual investors including VMware co-founder Diane Greene.

5. Elastifile

Senior management: Amir Aharoni (Mobixell Networks) co-founder and CEO, Shahar Frank (XtremIO) co-founder and CTO, Roni Luxenburg (Red Hat) co-founder and  VP R&D

Designed from the ground up as an all-flash, software only solution, Elastifile's distributed storage platform combines full-featured enterprise file and object capabilities with linearly scalable performance, interface flexibility, analytics, and management and quality-of-service controls. It enables commodity servers to be configured as scale-out flash storage arrays, and its architecture provides sufficient scalability and elasticity to support on-premises, public cloud, and hybrid-cloud environments.

The company has raised over $50 million from seven strategic market leaders from across the data center and storage industries.

6. Rubrik

Senior management: Bipul Sinha (Lightspeed) co-founder and CEO.  Arvind Jain (Google) co-founder and VP of engineering. Soham Mazumdar (Tagtile) co-founder and architect. Arvind Nithrakashyap Rocketfuel) co-founder and CTO.

Rubrik Cloud Data Management delivers automated backup, instant recovery, offsite replication, and data archival in a simple, scale out appliance built for hybrid clouds. It uses a system that distributes data, metadata and tasks across a cluster for linear scalability and performance. An engine assigns and executes tasks across a cluster in a fault tolerant manner to ensure that all tasks are load balanced across the cluster and are distributed to the nodes that contain the relevant data. Rubrik's data management capabilities handle data lifecycle management from ingest to archive and retirement, storing versioned data, ensuring data integrity, and applying content aware global deduplication and compression.

The company announced a $61 million series C funding round led by Khosla Ventures in August 2016, bringing the company's total funding to $112 million.

7. Infinite.io

Senior management: Mark Cree (Storspeed, Cisco) co-founder and CEO. Jay Rolette (HP TippingPoint) co-founder and VP of Engineering. David Sommers (NetEffect) co-founder  and VP of Operations.

Infinite.io seeks to find a solution to the problem of vast amounts of inactive data that enterprises store but never access again. Its solution installs transparently in front of storage as a network based controller, migrating inactive data to low-cost cloud storage. Data is constantly migrated to the cloud based on "intelligent" policies.  These come down to much more than simply the last access data, and can be configured by administrators.  The company claims that as well as reducing costs it makes active data faster by serving it out of flash memory, from a reduced local storage footprint. Regardless of where the data is physically located it is alway presented by Infinite.io as local storage that is instantly accessible.  

The company raised $3.4 million in September 2015 in a funding round led by Chicago Ventures.

8. E8 Storage

Senior management: Zivan Ori (IBM) co-founder and CEO. Alex Friedman (IBM) co-founder and VP R&D.

E8 Storage's rack-scale flash architecture has been designed to maximize the performance of NVMe for high-performance enterprise applications and is the first shared, software-defined NVMe solution on the market.  E8 Storage provides both the high bandwidth and low latency of NVMe drives, and the high availability and centralized provisioning of centralized storage. E8 Storage is based on open hardware components with a rack-scale architecture that is upgradable and expandable, helping to eliminate the need for storage need projections. Optimized for NVMe drives and for 40GE-100GE networks, E8's storage appliance provides very high performance even for an all-flash-array, with latency on par with local SSDs.

The company raised $12 Million in series B funding led by Accel in May 2016.

9. ioFABRIC

Senior management: Steven Lamb (Nevex Virtual Technologies) co-founder and CEO. Rayan Zachariassen (Uunet Canada) co-founder and CTO.

ioFabric is essentially a software defined storage company, unifying different  vendors' storage hardware  under a single pane of glass. Its flagship product, Vicinty, is designed to reduce storage OPEX and CAPEX with intelligent automation and growth through commodity hardware and the cloud. Vicinity solutions are available to extend existing storage systems, or to deploy as distributed storage or as hyperconverged systems.

The company received funding of an undisclosed amount in July 2015 from Real Ventures and private investors.

10.  Savage IO

Senior management:  Phillip Roberto U.S. Navy, co-founder and CEO. John Fithian (APEX Data).

Savage IO designs, manufactures, and sells high-performance, densely populated storage, networking, and server systems for cloud storage, big data analytics, HPC, enterprises and remote sites. Its SavageStor platform combines SATA hard drives, a front-end SSD cache, or all SSD, depending on user workload. They include four grid-redundant power supplies, a sliding front "drive drawer" that allows drives to be swapped without powering down, and cabling that delivers speeds of up to 25GB per second. The company's hardware is sold software-free and can be used with freely available open-source software.

The company is believed to have raised over $500,000 in two funding rounds.

11. Qumulo

Senior management: Peter Godman (Isilon)  co-founder and CEO, Neal Fachan (Amazon Web Services) co-founder and chief scientist.

Qumulo makes scale-out NAS software. Qumulo Core is a software-only, flash-first product designed to help storage administrators store, manage and curate digital assets, and is 100% programmable through an interactive REST API. The product is powered by Qumulo Scalable File System (QSFS), which provides real-time visibility into data and storage to help solve data management problems created by first generation scale-out NAS products. QSFS has been designed to use low cost commodity server hardware and modern technologies such as flash, virtualization and the cloud. Qumulo Core enables the use of high capacity drives (such as 10TB Ultrastar Helium drives) and the company says it enables a 33% increase in usable storage capacity including the ability to efficiently handle tens of billions of small and large files.

The company completed a $32.5 million Series C funding round in June 2016, with investors including Allen & Company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

12. Datos IO

Senior management: Tarun  Thakur (EMC) co-founder and CEO. Prasenjit Sarkar (IBM) co-founder and CTO.

Datos IO's RecoverX product provides cloud-scale data protection software for applications deployed on non-relational, cloud databases. Architected as scale-out software that may be deployed in a single node or in a three-node cluster configuration, RecoverX allows organizations to protect their data at any granularity and at any point in time and promises to reduce downtime with recovery in minutes. It claims RecoverX allows customers to save up to 70% on secondary storage costs.

The company completed a $12.5 million Series A funding round in September 2015, with lead investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and True Ventures.

13. DriveScale

Senior management: Satya Nishtala (Nuova Systems) co-founder and CTO.  Tom Lyon (Nuova Systems), co-founder and chief scientist, Gene Banman (NetContinuum) CEO.

Commodity servers are "fixed" in their pre-integrated configurations of compute and storage but DriveScale's central proposition is that the ratio of compute to storage in servers and clusters should be a software-defined operation. DriveScale's software automatically discovers available physical data center resources, enables disaggregation of servers into separate pools of compute and storage resources, and reassembles servers under software control and manages and optimizes the scale-out infrastructure. Administrators can then flexibly deploy and manage independent pools of resources in scale-out, just as has been done in the past with scale-up.

The company completed a $15 million Series A funding round let by Pelion Venture Partners in May 2016.

14. ClearSky Data

Senior management: Ellen Rubin (CloudSwitch) co-founder and CEO and. Lazarus Vekiarides (Dell EqualLogic) co-founder and CTO.

ClearSky Data promises the security, performance and availability of on premise storage, combined with the economics of the cloud, by offering a global storage network. Using ClearSky, hot data is stored locally, warm data is stored in a nearby data center that can deliver speeds  equivalent to local primary data, and the cloud is used to store cold data. A simple dashboard allows users to set policies on data backup, retention and performance, add storage capacity, migrate existing data from traditional arrays, and view the location of data, capacity utilization, classification of data within a workload, availability, latency and other metrics.  The platform is fully managed, and includes backup and   disaster recovery. The company claims its storage solution costs 80% less than a traditional storage solution.

The company completed a $27 million Series B funding round in November 2015, led by Polaris Partners.

15. Kaminario

Senior management: Dani Golan (Performix Technologies) founder and CEO. Moshe Amir, VP Operations.

Kaminario is the most established of these 15 startups, having been founded in 2010. The company's K2 all-flash array utilizes a unique software-defined architecture that delivers predictable performance, scalability and cost-efficiency. Each of its arrays is backed by a business guarantee program that combines six simple guarantees to give customers certainty and predictability as their business scales.

The company's most recent funding round was a $40 million Series E round completed in January 2015.

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