Apr 30, 2015

Confirmed, Infinidat raises $150M

Infinidat (www.infinidat.com), the new storage venture launched in 2011 by Moshe Yanai, announced a gigantic VC round with $150M. The valuation now touches $1.2B, the total of funding is $230M. At the same time, the company has stopped the NAS offering IZBox and starts an aggressive focus on the block storage array InfiniBox. 2015 will be interesting. We can expect an IPO end of 2016 or first-half of 2017.

Apr 29, 2015

Exablox supports NFS

Exablox (www.exablox.com), developer of OneBlox, the highly scalable NAS storage platform for SME, just announced the support of NFS. Aligned with what the team told us during the last IT Press Tour last december. The company who had a rapid growth in 2014 and in the IDC report, continues to penetrate the market at a high rate. Now the company has a few options: move up in the market by addressing large entreprises, continue development object API support from outside of the cluster and push oem sales. Keep follow Exablox in 2015 as some interesting news could be unveiled.

Apr 27, 2015

Yahoo chose Ceph for its Cloud Object Store

Yahoo (www.yahoo.com | NASD:YHOO), recently published a very interesting blog post on its Engr portal. No surprise, we learn that Yahoo object storage perimeter covers 250B objects for various content coming from emails, images, videos and blog posts. Yahoo is a strong believer in object storage having used it for several years with an appliance approach. But the company also realizes that a Software-Defined Storage model is the right one to support growth of data volume within the company and to support various applications workloads.
Yahoo insists on 3 dimensions when selecting SDS:
  • Cost trade-off,
  • Access Methods what Yahoo calls Interfaces and
  • Storage abstractions with Block, File or Objects.
Yahoo names its approach Cloud Object Storage or COS and started with Flikr with a multi-PB configuration. In 2015, COS support more than 100 PB for Flikr, Yahoo Mail and Tumblr. Wow impressive.

After a deep study between OpenStack Swift, Ceph and a few commercial solutions, Yahoo selected Ceph. The configuration chosen by Yahoo is a federation of Clusters, all Ceph based, that gives to Yahoo the level of flexibility needed by the company. In addition to that, they develop and embed into applications their on hashing algorithm to place data on the right cluster. Each Ceph Cluster is 3PB raw giving a simple and fast recovery and could be seen as the increment size within the supercluster. In addition, Yahoo prefers Erasure Coding in a 8+3 mode. In term fo storage media supported, Yahoo uses SSD, HDD and SMR.

Yahoo also contributes to the project and changes a few things to boost the response time and reduce latency. For instance, in S3, a bucket that stores object in Amazon terminology belongs to 1 node, Yahoo changes that and the bucket is now sharded across multiple node to increase parallelism. Next deployments will be around geo-replication for business continuity, small object configurations and lifecycle management. Very real use case for Ceph at a very large scale. Impressive.

Apr 24, 2015

Ericsson prepares something big

Ericsson (www.ericsson.com | NASD:ERIC), the telco and network equipment giant, have made some interesting recent moves and i am not sure everyone really connects the dots here. Here are a few public facts:

- Fabrix Systems was acquired in Sept. 2014 for less than 100M$ to participate to the Cloud Video transformation. Fabrix was niche vendor but highly recognized and respected in their domain for the excellent software stack they built especially for DVR service.

- Guardtime strategic partnership agreement announced in Sept. 2014 for Keyless Signature Infrastructure integration within Ericsson cloud offering.

- Cleversafe global partnership agreement announced March 2015 for the Ericsson Secure Cloud Storage.

- Announcement of HDS 8000 (Hyperscale Datacenter System).

But one element not mentioned here is the recruitment in March 2014 of a visionary and pioneer, Jason Hoffman, co-founder and CTO of Joyent, who injected the need new blood. This was a fundamental recruitment that fuels a new dimension within Ericsson. Ericsson started a journey to Cloud and it will be big, just read Ericsson's cloud page...

Apr 10, 2015

15th IT Press Tour and 5 years

The IT Press Tour (www.itpresstour.com), the media event started in June 2010, will celebrate it's 5 years during the 15th edition in California end of June. The core topic of this week is Software-Defined covered from a network, storage, management and big data perspective. 15 european reporters will participate to meet 11 hot companies, here is the list:
  • Big Switch Networks, a pioneer in SDN,
  • Catalogic Software, a Copy Data player with strong background in data protection,
  • CoreOS, an innovative software for massive deployment,
  • DDN Storage, the leader in HPC Storage,
  • Hedvig, new SDS apporach by the father of Amazon Dynamo and Apache Cassandra,
  • Jut, a new player in Big Data with radical new approach,
  • Micron, the giant manufacturer of Flash and NAND devices,
  • NexGen Storage, the alternative storage vendor dedicated to QoS based storage,
  • Nuage Networks, one of the references in the SDN segment,
  • Pure Storage, the future new storage giant,
  • and Rozo Systems, promoter of a Erasure-coded Scale-Out NAS for high demanding workload.
With this post, we'd like also to announce the launch of a sister event with same format but dedicated to "Business and IT Applications". This new event will happen the week of October 5th. The current IT Press Tour, let's say the classic one, will continue and will be officially marker as an "IT Infrastructure" event.
I invite you to follow the IT Press Tour via the #ITPT twitter hashtag, me with my twitter handle @CDP_FST and other reporters via their respective handles.

Apr 9, 2015

Apple made an other secret acquisition

Acunu (www.acunu.com), a big data analytics company, launched in 2009 got acquired recently by Apple. The cupertino firm like with FoundationDB didn't communicate any information about that but didn't invalidate the move. Acunu is a software vendor specialized in low-latency analytics based on all the recent stuff to manipulate data and provide value from massive volume of collected data. So NoSQL approach with Cassandra and Hadoop are 2 key components of Acunu portfolio. Like FoundationDB, Apple absorbs a technology sold to Enterprise for its own usage. According to Crunchbase, Acunu received $10.6M in 3 rounds. Last point, of course, Acunu web site is down.

Mar 30, 2015

Infinidat opens french operation

Infinidat (www.infinidat.com), alternative storage player for the enterprise, launched recently its french business entity. I already covered Infinidat a few times in January 2014 and June 2014 and I kept the info until it's now official. The team has 4 key members, all strong with real storage background: Laurent Caillé as Country Manager (strong EMC and IBM background), Philippe Dervin as sales executive (EMC and HP background), Jean-Baptiste Fuster as Solutions Architect Manager (LSI, HDS, EMC and CA background) and Jean Vaucouleur as Regional Technical Manager for South Europe (Exanet and Legato Systems background).
The sales strategy is pretty clear with target such MSP, finance, telco, retail and industry as products are really high-end, horizontal and generic. The idea is to deliver an high-end storage solution based on commodity stuff at a very economical way. Infinidat projects an aggressive TCO reduction, divided by 3 when you compare with other "classic" solutions from usual suspects. In general, the solution demonstrates a cost inferior of 1$ per GB. Two products are available: a block and file storage respectively InfiniBox and IZBox with different capacity range: F2000 model with 330TB raw with 3TB HDD and 480TB raw with 4TB HDD and F6000 model between 1.5 and 2PB. Infinidata has already a french customer who already deployed 1.5PB in replication mode. The company just raised 150M$ and we anticipate that Infinidat will prepare an IPO in 2016. Moshe Yanai is behind the project and we know what he achieved in the past, his bright ideas and the success he had with the Symmetrix product family at EMC. Let's follow closely Infinidat in the next few months.

Mar 27, 2015

FoundationDB acquired by Apple

FoundationDB (www.foundationdb.com), one of the few gems in the NoSQL segment, just got acquired by Apple, we all read the news even if there is nothing listed on FoundationDB or Apple web site. Back a few months ago, we met FoundationDB founder, David Rosenthal, with the IT Press Tour group at Sutter Hill Ventures in June 2014 as we anticipated something big as the capabilities of the product are immense. And guess what, we're not the only one who watched and paid attention to that technology very closely. The interesting point is not the product, very good indeed, but the fact that a vendor of a product in a B2B mode is now a product for only one user, even big in that case Apple, and will become an internal solution. Three things for Apple:
  1. the FoundationDB technology is so disruptive and represents a huge business advantage that Apple decided to acquire the product for its own usage,
  2. the product is so good that Apple doesn't want anyone to use it instead of them or at the same time in a concurrent way (download menu is removed from the FoundationDB web site) and
  3. finally iTunes, iCloud and other projects must operate and run with modern technologies that support and enable new scaling model.

With this acquisition, Apple made a great decision that will illustrate again the famous Build, Buy or Partner approach. Too late and too long to build and probably not with the right expert team within Apple, Buy a product is not enough as a customer, other could benefit from it as well, so they buy the company and stop the commercial product and finally Partner is not the right model here as, like the 2 others modes, the product would have been available for other companies as well.
I'm pretty sure all of you remember a few years ago what Nicholas Carr wrote about "IT doesn't matter". It's true when all players adopt the same product, no more difference or advantage is created, and false when the product is unique because controlled by one company. Apple understood that. Very good catch.

Mar 10, 2015

Exablox scales, 30B objects in total

Exablox (www.exablox.com), leader in the scalable NAS for SMB, continues quietly its market penetration. The company announced recently that in total for the installed base, OneBlox store 30B objects and sold in 2014 13 times more appliances than 2013 and also multiplied the customer base by 13.

Mar 6, 2015

HGST swallows Amplidata

Amplidata (www.amplidata.com), one of the few european object storage vendors, is acquired by HGST (www.hgst.com), fully owned by WDC.
Is it a surprise or not ?
In fact not if we consider multiple elements: market success, CEO identity, funding campaign and investor profile. In term of market success, Amplidata recognized for its solution was a bit confidential with almost the same list of customers for several years even with the recent success with Verizon and the Himalaya pure software flavor. As a pure player of object storage, Amplidata refused to address directly other segments such as NAS as some other tried to do. The company stayed active in a small market. The reality is a bit ambiguous with almost 20 object storage players addressing different use cases and they don't finally really compete against each other. The other key point is object storage as a technology was defined and designed for large storage project but do we have many of them, not sure as companies can do and solve their problem with different methods. The second point is about the CEO Mike Wall who arrived in the company at board level in November 2011 to sell it as he did for Atempo. Mike Wall was named CEO in September 2012. Finally he did it so if his mission was that, he succeeds. I mentioned in the past that the Intel investment could have morphed in a acquisition but the next investor HGST was faster. In fact, HGST injected 10M$ in September 2014, it was not a classic round and many observer anticipated the acquisition. With HGST strategy with SMR, archive drives and the wish to penetrate the active archive market, the investment is clearly a good one. WDC with HGST also tried to mimic Seagate strategy sometimes in advance or trying to fill the gap. I anticipate that the exit is relatively good with a factor of no more choice or alternatives for Amplidata. I mentioned this for many years but I'm convinced that the first acquisition in the object storage will trigger others. Now let's see but I won't be surprise, there is just one less player but also on less buyer. I let you imagine what could happen...