Five More Hot Storage Startups

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Over the past year, we have covered several interesting storage startups in a series of articles.

Yet they keep right on coming. In this story, we focus on CloudByte, Tegile Qumulo, Proximal Data and Pernix Data.


Established in 2011 by technology executives from companies such as HP, IBM, NetApp, SanDisk and Novell, CloudByte is backed by Nexus Venture Partners and KAE Capital. It has climbed onto the software-defined storage bandwagon as a startup that offers guaranteed quality of service (QoS) to every application from a shared storage platform. The basic idea is to permit cloud service providers, as well as larger companies, to host performance-sensitive applications in the cloud economically.

According to CloudByte CEO Greg Goelz (formerly of SanDisk), with CloudByte’s on-demand performance provisioning, organizations can scale to thousands of applications and still meet their performance demands. It has no proprietary hardware, so users can adjust their infrastructure to suit their requirements. How it works is that a CloudByte ElastiStor controller can be installed on any server, and these controllers can be linearly clustered for high availability and scale-out storage. The company has also released a free version of its ElastiStor software with up to 4 TB of data.

After a Series A funding round of $2.1 million, CloudByte just secured a further $4 million in Series B funding with new investor Fidelity Worldwide Investment and participation from existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Kae Capital.

“The software offers the option of building all-flash or hybrid systems so they can deploy it in their existing environments without any change or disruption,” said Goelz.


Qumulo was founded in March 2012 with seed funding from Valhalla Partners. In November 2012, Qumulo raised $24.5 million in a Series A round of financing led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from Madrona Venture Group and Valhalla Partners.

The company was co-founded by the primary architects of Isilon’s OneFS file system, with Qumulo CEO Peter Godman being the former director of software engineering at Isilon and previous CEO of Corensic. He is joined by Qumulo CTO Aaron Passey, former chief architect at Isilon and CTO at Clustrix, and vice president of engineering Neal Fachan, previously a distinguished engineer at Isilon and principal engineer at Amazon. Rounding out the Qumulo executive team is vice president of product management Jeff Cobb, who previously served as chief scientist at Wily Technology (now part of CA) and senior vice president strategy at CA.

The company isn’t saying too much about its intended products other than veiled references to being able to scale storage at unprecedented rates. But product announcements are expected soon.

“Qumulo solves the problems introduced by the confluence of three huge trends in enterprise IT—consumerization, SSD technology and commoditization,” said Godman. “It makes storage simple, scalable and efficient.”


Founded in 2010, Tegile began shipping product in February 2012. Its total funding to date is $12.5M, with over 250 customers in production.

The basic pitch is that all-flash arrays are too expensive and slotting SSDs into hard disk slots is inefficient. So Tegile seeks to leverage SSDs for performance, supported by low-cost disk for capacity.

The company clams to deliver five times the performance with up to 75 percent less capacity required compared to legacy arrays. This is achieved by a combination of deduplication and architecting the performance benefits of SSDs throughout the data path via software.

“Our hybrid arrays are faster than legacy arrays and less expensive than all solid-state disk-based arrays,” said Rob Commins, VP of marketing at Tegile. “They also solve the performance challenges experienced in heavily virtualized environments.”


PernixData’s Flash Virtualization Platform (FVP) is said to be a high-speed data tier that accelerates applications by virtualizing server-side flash via a scale out architecture. It can be installed on any hardware and can take advantage of any flash.

“Companies can scale storage performance independent of storage capacity using server-side flash and without requiring changes to applications, workflows or storage infrastructure,” said Jeff Aaron, VP marketing, PernixData. “With flash virtualization, PernixData is picking up where VMware left off.”

Headquartered in San Jose, California, the company was founded in 2012 by Poojan Kumar, a co-founder of Oracle Exadata, and Satyam Vaghani, VMware’s storage CTO and creator of VMware’s clustered file system (VMFS). It has raised $27 million in funding to date from investors including Lightspeed Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and others.

Proximal Data

Proximal Data is a server-side caching provider which recently secured a $2 million Series B round of funding, bringing its total to $5 million. Investors include Avalon Ventures and Divergent Ventures.

The company’s AutoCache fast virtual cache software is designed to enable higher levels of server consolidation in virtualized environments by addressing limitations caused by I/O bottlenecks, according to Rory Bolt, CEO of Proximal Data. It plugs into hypervisors and moves priority I/O traffic onto a PCIe flash card or SSD.

“Proximal Data’s AutoCache software removes I/O bottlenecks and improves VM density by two to three times to attain maximum performance for applications with no impact to IT operations,” said Rory Bolt, CEO of Proximal Data. “AutoCache characterizes I/O in real time and places hot data onto a local PCIe Flash card or SSD, thus supplying priority data traffic to VMs.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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