July 18, 2017

And now Rubrik recruits a CMO to accelerate

Rubrik (www.rubrik.com), the new generation data protection company, just announced the recruitment of its new CMO, in fact the company didn't have one so far. Bipul Sinha and other executives have selected Kara Wilson coming from FireEye, Okta, SP Cloud, SuccessFactors, Cisco Systems, Network General and PeopleSoft. Good senior executives for Rubrik even if the storage experience is totally absent of her background, let's present this fact as an advantage bringing new blood to the team. We had the opportunity to meet again Rubrik last June with the IT Press Tour and understood the strategy to accelerate the market penetration even more stronger. The company was also listed on the Storage Unicorn list published by Condor Consulting Group. Next months will be interesting to see for sure.

July 13, 2017

Aptare, Insights for IT environments

Aptare (www.aptare.com), leader in IT monitoring and reporting, was a good surprise during the recent IT Press Tour. We have the chance to visit and meet a player not so visible on the market but with a very comprehensive solution for managing IT environments.

Founded in 1993 by Rick Clark, still CEO and President, the company, based in Campbell in California, was founded on private funds and finally never raised any venture money. Profitable, the company has controlled its destiny since the beginning and today manages several exabytes of data for over 1000 clients on the planet.

Rick Clark, CEO, illustrating the value of One Central Console
Aptare StorageConsole, now in version 10, can control, manage and monitor via one console various IT environments - on-premise or cloud -, server- or vm-based operations, for many operating systems, file systems, volumes managers, storage and network device and data protection tools such backup or replication. All these capabilities makes Aptare pretty unique on the market with no real competitor globally even if for some portion of the function, some solutions try to compete. Centrally managed via a very comprehensive console, the philosophy of the product relies on an agentless approach to collect all data in a central repository based on Oracle DB.

In fact, Aptare made several tentative with other DB engines but never found the right one able to storage huge amount of data, tables and records and be able to be significantly fast. It was a decision made several years as we understand that the market has made great progress int hat direction with very-fast DB, NoSQL or not, distributed...

In term of use cases, the product excels in capacity planning and monitoring, risk mitigation, compliance control and participate to the reduction of costs wherever data resides, on-premise or in the cloud. The company has an important installed base in finance, usually good candidate for heterogeneity, where the product is excellent. The second key market segment is the service/SaaS providers where mixed generation, model and brands are very frequent as well. Aptare have chosen a pure indirect model to maximize the effort and also developed some oem relationships like the one with Hitachi. With the latter, StorageConsole is named Hitachi Storage Viewer.

You can find the entire presentation used during the event to go beyond this post. IT was a great session with plenty of information and good interaction.


July 10, 2017

StrongLink, a universal data tiering solution

StrongBox Data Solutions (www.strongboxdata.com), an alternative player for data management, has presented an interesting session during the last IT Press Tour. We had the chance to meet David Cerf, CEO and founder of the company, at the FujiFilm Innovation Hub in Santa Clara.

David Cerf, CEO, promoting actively StrongLink
The company came from Crossroads with a transaction made in April 2016 and historically it sells the StrongBox LTFS NAS Appliance. Strongbox Data Solutions belongs to Partner One Capital. We'll write soon about the NAS archiving solution so let's focus for this post on StrongLink.

Since the beginning, StrongBox has focused on some vertical use cases such M&E, government and public sector, HPC & geospatial, research institutions or medical.

StrongBox has decided to build and design a very comprehensive product able to be the storage and data unificator across independent storage brands, models and product generations playing in that case a horizontal role thanks to the data that serves as the glue between silos and devices. The product fits in 2 categories at the same time, it's about Data Management but also Storage Management, and invite uses to continue with their current environments and devices, build strong data protection policies and reduce costs of the storage infrastructure. StrongLink is defined as a Cognitive Data Management product to optimize cost, data usage and maximize productivity from the same environment.

In term of features, StrongLink offers:
  • In-place non-disruptive deployment especially for current storage devices,
  • Data classification and indexing,
  • Smart versioning of all data and metadata,
  • Strong data integrity checks,
  • Smart pools to form logical groups of storage managed via just a metadata tag and for ease of management with policies attached to them,
  • Data mobility across any devices and locations,
  • Data protection extension with additional copies if needed at various locations and units,
  • Search and Orchestration for any storage and any data, I still have some doubt about databases integration,
  • Unification of Data and Storage management with original access methods maintained such NFS, SMB, S3 or Swift for instance,
StrongLink plays the role of a Data Virtualization layer and offers a a web console to manage globally the environment.

Three architecture models are possible: Star with only 1 StrongLink node deployed out-of-band, Constellation aka cluster of nodes with a minimum of 3 nodes and Galaxy as a mixed of Constellation and/or Star and several of them. StrongLink offers a very flexible console available on tablet, smartphone or any web-based environment.

In term of licensing, 2 models are possible: perpetual or subscription license model based on number of concurrent users.

StrongLink clearly deserves a look and try as it's probably one of the most comprehensive and open solution on the market, they just need to improve visibility and sign more business partners.


July 6, 2017

Towards a unified SDS with ProphetStor

ProphetStor Data Services (www.prophetstor.com), emerging leader in data and storage orchestration, is now ready to accelerate thanks to a recent new VC round. The company has recently raised $25M at a $150M post-money valuation.

In addition, Eric Chen, CEO and founder of te company, has recruited Guillaume Imberti as EVP/GM EMEA who also recruited his own team to start the european operations. Everything is ready to accelerate market penetration and channel recruitments. This new european team was present during the meeting with at ProphetStor HQ in Milpitas with the IT Press Tour end of June. We already covered that 2 times, on StorageNewsletter and on the FST blog.

The company was founded in 2012 by former FalconStor executives - Eric Chen, CEO and Walter Curti, CTO - and Sunny Siu, President and it explains the impressive track record of the management team with already large presence in Asia Pac and EMEA for a few weeks. Interesting Tab Lebeck is an advisor board member working himself on his own startup project.

Eric Chen, CEO, and Walter Curti, CTO
The company believes in Software to target the SDDC market and has developed a pretty comprehensive portfolio to provide Intelligence, Modernization, Automation and Orchestration. Four products exist: Federator, StellarFlash, DR Prophet and DiskProphet.

ProphetStor has started 2 initiatives: Datacenter.ai and Smart Data Fabric. The first idea is to leverage analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to define a new data center and the second is bout smart, unified and programmable data services to support their journey towards the SDDC.

The first element, fundamental to ProphetStor strategy, is Federator as the central intelligence and "big controller" of the environment. It integrates data, storage, platform and analytics services to support the Smart Data Fabric initiative.

The second product is StellarFlash available as full flash or hybrid storage appliance with a block interface and StellarFlash FS that exposes file interfaces running a SAN file system or SAN file sharing system.

The third is DRProphet is about Disaster Recovery used by Toshiba in South East Asia and Foxconn and the fourth, Disk Prophet, offers smart analytics for disk farms already deployed at Cisco MetaCloud.
We'll follow carefully ProphetStor in the next few months as everything is in place to grow their market footprint.


July 3, 2017

Coraid is back

Coraid (www.coraid.com), leader and inventor of the ATA over Ethernet aka AoE approach, is back from failure. Following some management decisions then difficulties, Coraid has ceased its operations in January 2015.

We had the privilege to meet Brantley Coile with the IT Press Tour team a few days ago to receive a fresh update on the Coraid story and of course on the promising future.

Brantley Coile, CEO of the new Coraid
After articulating the genesis of AoE and its advantages, Brantley Coile has insisted on the simplicity of the protocol and the price of an array that justify this alternative choice. For instance a SRX block storage array with 36 x 8TB disks and the associated license cost only $20,956 or $0,0013/GB/mo. over 5 years, pretty compelling. The running operating system is Plan 9, the successor of Unix from Bell Labs, it's more than a detail as you'll read below.

So what happened to Coraid as the trajectory was impressive?

First, Brantley founded the company in 2000 with the PIX money and FCS came in 2004 to reach 1000+ customers and $12M in sales. Something was happening as the market has adopted it and recognized the value of the AoE approach.

Next phase was a new dimension for the company with the injection of VC money for a total of $100M in 4 rounds starting in 2010. It means a new management came on board both as the executive level and the board and Coraid got more structured and organized. So far good points at least from an external point of view. We met Coraid during the real 1st edition of The IT Press Tour in June 2010 and we were super impressed. The company continues to grow at a rapid pace and the revenue climbed to $48M, headcount to 159 but in 2013 things started to slow down. Brantley finally left in May 2014 and Coraid ceased operation in January 2015. After a tentative with David Kresse, last Coraid CEO, and Keith Carpenter, last VP Sales, with their new adventure at Intermodal Data, nothing really took off.

Brantley insisted on one mistake the management has made at that time: the decision to switch from Plan 9 to Solaris. A clear observation was the divergence between a technical project but easy product and new CEOs non technical at all. We also understood some other aspects than finally destroy the company.

And finally SouthSuite the new home of Brantley acquired back the "Coraid trademark, domain name and the rest of classic Coraid technology" mid 2016. Now the new Coraid, based in Athens, GA, is here to stay, no VC money, fully independent, already profitable and already in full support of the installed base and thinking about new product development and direction. We'll be good to meet again next year to measure progress...


June 25, 2017

June 22, 2017

June 14, 2017

May 26, 2017

MSST 2017 Recap

The 33rd International Massive Storage Systems & Technology, aka MSST, edition 2017 happened last week in Santa Clara University. A few hundreds people were present. The 5 days conference has a unique format with a day of tutorials, two days of invited papers and two days of peer-reviewed research papers plus an opportunity for vendors to expose their solutions and interact with attendees.

May 25, 2017