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10 Sizzling Storage Startups

  • Like any technology space, storage is represented by a handful of established market leaders and dozens of startups vying for the IT buyer’s attention. It may be tempting to limit your shortlist to the likes of EMC, NetApp, and IBM, but doing so may come at a cost. Some of the more established startups offer a level of innovation that you won’t find with your bigger vendors.

    The default for most organizations is to evaluate and purchase technology from behemoth vendors whom they know will be around to support the product three years from now. But that comfort level often comes at the price of limited innovation. And with so much innovation going on in the storage market today, from all-flash arrays to software-defined storage and hyper-convergence, customers shouldn't settle for the status quo.

    Howard Marks, founder and chief scientist at DeepStorage LLC, advises IT buyers to pay close attention to a group of storage startups he dubs upstarts. More established than the average startup, these companies offer the innovation you find from a startup and the security you get from a market leader. According to Marks, a Network Computing contributor, the key characteristics of an upstart are VC confidence, announcements of growing sales, and innovative technology.

    In this slideshow, we present 10 storage startups that are worthy of consideration. These companies are leading the way with ground-breaking storage technologies that promise to reshape the enterprise storage landscape.

  • Nimble Storage


    Identified as an upstart by Marks, Nimble Storage raised $176 million in its IPO and is adding between 250 and 400 customers a quarter. Nimble offers a hybrid array called Adaptive Flash. The platform, based on Nimble's Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) architecture and InfoSight technology, is designed to efficiently handle a wide variety of workloads, leverage snapshot-based data management to improve backup and recovery times, and leverage cloud-based management and support.

  • Pure Storage


    Another upstart identified by Marks, Pure Storage also was named a leader in Gartners Magic Quadrant for solid-state arrays. Pure Storage aims to make all-flash storage -- and its many benefits -- affordable for any enterprise. The entry-level FA-405 has a usable capacity of up to 40 TB, while the high-end FA-450 has a capacity of up to 250 TB. The FA-420 has a capacity of up to 125 TB. According to TechCrunch, the company has raised $475 million over the course of its life and is seeing 50% sequential growth.

  • Tintri


    Tintri provides flash-based storage products specifically designed for virtualized and cloud environments. Its application-aware storage is designed to provide visibility into the virtualization layer and enable IT to focus on the applications as opposed to the storage infrastructure. Like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage, Tintri is considered an upstart by Marks.

  • SolidFire


    SolidFire offers all-SSD storage platforms designed for public and private clouds. Like Pure Storage, SolidFire aims to make flash affordable for general workloads. To this end, the provider recently announced the expansion of its SF Series product line. The SF2405 starts at 35 TB of effective capacity and 200,000 predictable IOPS for less than $100,000. SolidFire received the highest product score for overall use case in Gartners "Critical Capabilities Study for Solid-State Arrays" and is named a "Visionary" in the analyst firms 2014 Magic Quadrant.

  • Nutanix


    Nutanix offers web-scale converged infrastructure (compute and storage) via its software-driven Virtual Computing Platform. The platform provides compute and storage through servers running a standard hypervisor and the Nutanix Operating System. Nutanix claims that its recently announced NX-9000 appliance is the industrys first all-flash hyper-converged platform. The company was founded by the engineering teams that developed the core scale-out file system capabilities of Google, Facebook and Amazon.

  • SimpliVity


    SimpliVity aims to simplify IT through its hyper-converged infrastructure product. The company's OmniCube platform combines compute, hypervisor, storage services and network switching on x86 server hardware. Thus, various IT components are consolidated into a single platform with centralized management. OmniCube is built from the ground up to optimize data center operations, Marks wrote in a blog post when SimpliVity came out of stealth mode two years ago.

  • DataGravity


    DataGravity got a lot of attention this summer when it launched its data-aware storage platform, which combines primary storage, data protection, governance, search and discovery into an integrated appliance. The DataGravity Discovery Series integrates these capabilities into the storage layer for NAS file shares, virtual machines and iSCSI targets to help lower storage and data management costs. In a blog post, Marks described the startup's technology as taking a novel approach to making storage smarter.

  • Coho Data


    Coho Datas converged approach to building a next-generation scale-out storage system is described as novel by Marks. Coho Data leverages software-defined networking to provide high performance, web-scale storage for private clouds. The processes for interconnecting nodes, load balancing, and data placement are moved to a switch. An integrated OpenFlow controller helps reduce the latency associated with traditional scale-out storage designs. The start-up closed a $25 million Series B funding in 2013 and was selected as a Best of Interop 2014 finalist.

  • Tegile Systems


    Tegile Systems provides intelligent flash storage arrays for virtualization, file services and database applications. The all-flash and hybrid storage systems combine flash technology with hard disk drives to deliver performance at a lower cost per gigabyte. The startup developed and patented IntelliFlash Metadata Acceleration, which enables the storage of metadata on high speed SSDs apart from underlying data.