Dell EMC has sold off another asset after its mega-merger.
Dell EMC last week spun out Spanning Cloud Apps to Insight Venture Partners, less than three years after EMC acquired Spanning for its cloud-to-cloud backup software. Insight added Spanning to its collection of backup companies, which includes the majority stake in Unitrends and investments in Veeam Software and Acronis. Insight is also an investor in storage array vendor Tintri.
EMC acquired Spanning Cloud Apps in October 2014, two years before Dell bought EMC for more than $60 billion. Spanning Backup protects software as a service (SaaS) applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce, backing up data created in the cloud that might not be stored on-premises.
Insight will operate Spanning as an independent company. Dell EMC will continue to sell Spanning Backup as its cloud-to-cloud backup product.
Dell Technologies has sold off pieces of its business, such as Dell’s Software Group and EMC’s Enterprise Content Division, to reduce debt from the EMC deal, but that was unlikely a motivation for the Spanning deal. Spanning Cloud Apps CEO Jeff Erramouspe said his company is a better fit with Insight than as part of Dell EMC. The companies did not disclose the purchase price.
Erramouspe said Insight initiated the deal by approaching Spanning.
“They had been following us for a while,” Erramouspe said. “When two giants come together, there is always a chance the smaller companies fall through the cracks. With all that is going on with Dell and EMC, it was a good idea to let Spanning find a home with a (company) that has a lot of expertise in our area.”
‘Points of friction’ inside Dell EMC
Erramouspe said Spanning initially helped EMC fill a hole in its portfolio for cloud-to-cloud backup. But he said there were “points of friction along the way” because the smaller company’s business model had focused on high-velocity, midmarket sales and it had to shift its focus to enterprise customers under EMC’s fold. Spanning lacked the resources to handle both the SMB and enterprise-level sales.
Erramouspe said there wasn’t a lot of integration between EMC and Spanning, so the unwinding of the two companies should be smooth.
“We didn’t share a lot of IP,” he said. “We were nicely self-contained, so it should make it easy for us to peel out.”
Erramouspe had taken on the title as vice president and general manager of the Spanning division of Dell EMC, but now will revert to CEO again. Mike Pav, previously Spanning’s VP of engineering, will become senior vice president of operations.
The Austin, Texas-based company currently has 60 employees with a one-third in engineering and about half in sales, marketing and product managers. Erramouspe said all current employees will remain with the company, but it will need to fill the administrative jobs that previously were supported at EMC.
Spanning Cloud Apps initially started protecting data in Google Apps and then moved on to support Salesforce.com and Microsoft Office 365. It focuses on Google’s G Suite, but it is seeing its Office 365 business grow faster. It has 7,000 customers worldwide and protects 800,000 seats via its cloud-to-cloud technology.
Erramouspe said he is discussing partnerships with the other data protection vendors that Insight Venture Partners invests in.
“We are having discussions, but I can’t go into details,” he said. “There is one that makes a lot of sense, but I’m not at liberty to say until we have something to announce.”
Veeam Software said it grew revenue bookings substantially last quarter on the strength of enterprises and cloud sales. Often, those two markets were related.
Veeam revenue from bookings increased 33% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017, the data protection vendor said. As a private company, Veeam does not always disclose its revenue and bookings totals, but in January it put its 2016 annual total revenue bookings at $607 million.
Veeam said it increased cloud revenue 59% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017. The company also recorded a 17% year-over-year increase in new license bookings, largely driven by sales into the enterprise sector. Veeam classifies enterprises as companies with 5,000 employees or more.
Veeam sells backup and replication software products to back up, restore and replicate data on virtual appliances. It was among one of the first vendors to develop backup software tailored for virtual machines (VMs), which need back up tools that recognize the difference between protecting physical and virtual machines. The Veeam revenue push included an uptick in service providers.
“We are off to a really good start,” said Peter McKay, Veeam’s president and chief operating officer. “A lot of it was driven due to the cloud business. That is our Veeam Cloud & Service Providers (VCSPs).”
McKay said the company on average added 4,000 new customers a month during 2016 and the beginning of 2017. Veeam claims a total of 242,000 customers, and it has added more than 15,000 VCSPs over the last three years. The company’s Veeam Availability product protects 13.9 million VMs, and more than 1 million of the VMs are protected via the VCSPs.
“A big part of our scalability and growth has come on the back of our partner community,” McKay said.
Enterprise focus driving new Veeam revenue base
Veeam started out mainly as an SMB and commercial product, but began focusing on enterprise customers over the last three years. That has expanded the Veeam revenue and customer base.
“That (enterprise) segment has accelerated in 2016, and now it has really taken hold in Q4 2016 and Q1 2017,” McKay said. “We’ve been investing in the enterprise over the past three years, adding on the product side and extending solutions to work with ecosystems, partners and providers. We extended the platform and integrated into third parties. We are doing high-touch sales.”
The enterprise segment also is helping to drive Veeam’s cloud sales because enterprises tend to favor the hybrid approach of on-premises and public cloud, McKay said.
“We have had our solutions architects go after that,” he said. “They are looking at backup and disaster recovery. It’s a low-risk use case and you can test it. They want to do something that is easy and cost effective.”
Veeam also has a reseller partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), with Veeam technology integrated directly into HPE primary and secondary storage. The Veeam Software is integrated with HPE 3PAR StoreServ, HPE StoreVirtual and HPE StoreOnce for data availability.
“We are the availability solution for HPE, and that has given us a lot of growth,” McKay said.
Perhaps because of the strong partnership with HPE, rumors circulated early this month that HPE was about to acquire Veeam. Those rumors prompted McKay to post a blog on the Veeam website denying “false rumors” and stating, “I am happy to state on the record that Veeam is not for sale and this is not part of our company strategy.”
Veeam Backup & Replication software is compatible with VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, and the agentless product works on the virtualization layer. Backups are image-based and can be created from snapshots on Dell EMC, HPE, NetApp and Nimble Storage arrays.
IBM storage sales rose in the first quarter of 2017, for the first time in more than five years.
IBM snapped a 22-quarter string of storage declines on the strength of flash hardware and software-defined products, according to its earnings report this week. Big Blue didn’t give much detail on its storage revenue numbers, except to say storage hardware increased 7%, with all-flash arrays growing by more than 10% over last year. CFO Martin Schroeter said IBM flash storage drove the hardware surge, across midrange and high-end platforms.
“Storage grew after repositioning for flash across our portfolio,” Schroeter said on the earnings call.
“In storage, we continue to see the shift in value toward software-defined environment, where we continue to lead the market. We again had double-digit revenue growth in software-defined storage, which is not reported in our system segment,” he said. “Storage software now represents more than 40% of our total storage revenue. Storage gross margins are down as hardware continues to be impacted by pricing pressure.”
IBM did not provide figure for its storage revenue, but IDC put IBM’s first quarter storage systems revenue in 2016 at $476 million. That would place its first quarter 2017 hardware revenue slightly above $500 million.
The improved storage sales come less than a year after Ed Walsh took over as general manager of IBM storage and software-defined infrastructure. In a February interview with SearchSolidStateStorage, Walsh highlighted flash as a key to IBM’s storage strategy.
“Our portfolio is going to be ‘flash first.’ IBM sells a lot of hybrid block arrays and we’ll obviously continue to give you choices,” Walsh said. “But we definitely see flash becoming pervasive. We also are thinking through flash for every workload, which is why we have multiple flash products.”
The IBM flash storage strategy didn’t start with Walsh. The vendor acquired all-flash pioneer Texas Memory Systems in 2012, and also launched all-flash versions of its traditional storage platforms.
Of course, every other major storage vendor is also fully stocked with all-flash systems, so IBM still has a battle ahead of it. The IBM flash storage portfolio will face fresh challenges. We’re about to enter a new generation of flash products with the advent of NVM Express. Over the next few quarters, we’ll see if the first quarter of 2017 was a turning point or just a blip for Big Blue.
Nexsan won a court victory over Dell EMC, right in the giant’s back yard.
A Massachusetts federal district court sided with Nexsan Inc. this week in its trademark dispute with Dell EMC over use of the Unity brand name. The ruling gives Nexsan Unity priority based on the timing of Nexsan’s patent request. The decision also dismisses Dell EMC’s claim of patent infringement.
It allows Nexsan to continue selling its Nexsan Unity multiprotocol storage array. Unless Dell EMC decides to appeal, the Hopkinton, Mass.-based division of Dell Technologies would need to come up with new branding for the EMC Unity midrange array it launched last year. Dell spokeswoman Lauren Lee said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Nexsan CEO Ron Bienvenu hailed the court’s decision in a prepared statement. “Nexsan filed its Unity trademark application first, and so we are extremely pleased today that the court has given Nexsan priority.”
The dispute arose nearly a year ago, as EMC was finalizing its merger with Dell. Nexsan Unity was launched in April 2016, one week before EMC formally christened its rebranded VNX/VNXe hybrid arrays at EMC World 2016.
EMC claims it used the Unity branding in customer presentations as early as March 2015 and threatened Nexsan with legal action unless it abandoned the brand name. Nexsan countered by filing a complaint for declaratory judgment for priority to use the mark.
The decision hinged on the timing of the respective vendors’ trademark request with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. In its court filing, Nexsan said it registered the trademark and serial number for Nexsan Unity on March 22, 2016 with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office. EMC filed its patent registration 38 days later, on April 29, 2016, and formally unveiled the EMC Unity product on May 2.
Nexsan is wholly owned by NXSN, a holding company owned by Spear Point Management Capital LLC and Gsubsidiary Inc. (formerly Imation Corp.). It claims more than 100 customer installations of Nexsan Unity since the product became generally available in September. The platform supports block, file and object storage with enterprise file sync and share.
Dell paid more than $60 billion to acquire EMC in 2016. The merger closed last September, creating a company with annual revenue of more than $74 billion.
Tegile Systems closed a $33 million funding round that the flash array vendor intends to use to invest heavily in NVMe, the next big thing in solid-state storage.
Like other flash vendors, Tegile has been looking toward non-volatile memory express (NVMe) for months. It stressed during its last product rollout in November 2016 that its new all-flash and hybrid arrays would support NVMe when drives become available.
The new Tegile funding will help market the NVMe systems.
Tegile rival Pure Storage today said it would ship an NVMe array in July. Tegile CEO Rohit Kshetrapal said his company is poised to ship NVMe as soon as drives become available.
Kshetrapal said current Tegile systems have four available slots for NVMe drives, and the vendor will also have an all-NVMe platform that it demonstrated last year at VMworld.
“We’ll use this funding to continue our vision of building out storage at the speed of memory,” he said. “We already have a high-density flash system. Now [with NVMe], you can get half a petabyte of data in 3U and accelerate performance to less than a sub-millisecond level,” Kshetrapal said.
Storage media vendor Western Digital led the Tegile funding round, which brings Tegile’s total funding to $178 million. Venture firms Meritech Capital, Capricorn Investment Group and Cross Creek Capital also participated in the Tegile funding round.
Both Western Digital and SanDisk — now part of Western Digital — were previous Tegile investors. They are also Tegile business partners. Tegile gets its flash drives from SanDisk and sells the SanDisk InfiniFlash enclosure arrays as Tegile IntelliFlash HD array through an OEM deal. Kshetrapal said the relationship is important for Tegile’s product development.
“They provide us access [to NAND flash] when the market is in tight supply, and now we partner on development of our next set of platforms,” he said.
Kshetrapal said he has no wild headcount expansion plans, although the Tegile funding will be used to help fuel sales. “We’re looking for growth at the right cost,” he said. “We can grow new markets and go into joint ventures with other companies. It’s always been about the balance of performance and cost.”
Kshetrapal said Tegile will build out its installed base by going after Nimble Storage customers now that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is buying Nimble. “We’re seeing a lot of reach out” from Nimble customers and channel partners, he said.
Toshiba has started volume shipments of its MG Series 8 TB HDD — the largest capacity-optimized, 3.5-inch enterprise HDD the company has ever produced.
The 7,200 rpm, 6 Gbps SATA HDD improves sustained transfer-rate performance by 12% over the prior MG04ACA model, according to Toshiba. The vendor said the capacity and performance characteristics of the new MG05ACA800 8 TB HDD would match up well for use cases such as public and private cloud deployments, digital archives and data protection.
The new capacity-optimized enterprise 8 TB HDD is designed for round-the-clock operation and has a workload rating of 550 total TB transferred per year, according to Toshiba. The vendor said the MG05ACA800 is the first Toshiba enterprise capacity HDD to support a new industry-standard host-initiated power-disable feature to improve device management. The 8 TB HDD also supports Toshiba Persistent Write Cache technology to protect against data loss in the event of a sudden power outage.
John Rydning, research vice president for HDDs at International Data Corp. (IDC), said the new capacity-optimized 3.5-inch 8 TB HDD is important for Toshiba to be able to compete with Seagate and Western Digital in the enterprise HDD market. Seagate and Western Digital already ship 3.5-inch 8 TB enterprise drives.
IDC predicts 8 TB capacity drives will have the highest shipment volume this year in the capacity-optimized HDD segment. IDC expects the petabyte demand for capacity-optimized 3.5-inch HDDs will grow by more than 40% in 2017 compared to 2016, according to Rydning.
Toshiba also sells 6 Gbps and 12 Gbps SAS “enterprise performance” 2.5-inch HDDs, at rotation speeds of 15,000 rpm and 10,500 rpm. Other enterprise options include capacity-optimized 12 Gbps SAS 3.5-inch HDDs, at 7,200 rpm, and cloud-targeted 6 Gbps SATA 3.5-inch HDDs, at 7,200 rpm.
Earlier this year, Toshiba launched a new line of 3.5-inch MN Series HDDs — at capacities of 4 TB, 6 TB and 8 TB — to try to bridge the gap between its high-end enterprise capacity HDDs and entry-level desktop HDDs. The 7,200 rpm, 6 Gbps SATA MN Series HDDs MN Series HDDs target mid-level, entry-level and small office NAS enclosures; remote and home office backup and archival storage; and fixed-content object storage, according to Toshiba.
Qumulo closed a $30 million funding round today, which the scale-out NAS startup will likely use to hire more former Isilon employees.
Qumulo is striving to replace Isilon as the scale-out NAS system of choice in today’s data centers. The company’s DNA is heavy with former Isilon executives and engineers, who helped build Isilon into a $2.25 billion acquisition target for EMC in 2010.
A band of original Isilon engineers founded Qumulo in 2012. When one of the founders, Peter Godman, moved from CEO to CTO in late 2016, he hired another former Isilon hand, Bill Richter, as CEO. Richter has since brought in a new VP of worldwide sales (Eric Scollard) and vice president of marketing (Jay Wampold), both former Isiloners. Now Qumulo is poised to significantly build out its sale and marketing staffs with its $30 million funding haul. The Qumulo funding round brings its total investment to more than $130 million.
“This is the right time to grow out sales and marketing,” Richter said. “We’re hiring as fast as we can.” He said the 150-person company will add its first international offices this year, either in Europe or Asia.
Qumulo funding will also make its way to R&D
Richter said Qumulo is still investing heavily in research and development as well to help it take on NAS giants Dell EMC Isilon and NetApp.
He said Qumulo’s advantages over those vendors are that its engineers are doing this for the second time, and they have designed file systems for the 21st century.
“NetApp was built in the 1990s and Isilon was built in 2001,” he said. “None of the other products out there now are built for the modern world. They’re not software-defined, there’s no integrated analytics. These file systems are incredibly hard to build. Our guys started in 2012. It’s their second time going through this, and by starting when we did, we were aware of what the modern world looked like. We can swing for the fences.”
Richter said Qumulo has already done most of the heavy lifting by building in features such as erasure coding and snapshots into its file system. “Those are big rocks to put in the bag,” he said. “Now we get to focus on pure innovation.”
Another focus will be on the cloud. Last year, Qumulo signed an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise for HPE to sell Qumulo software on HPE Apollo servers. Richter said he will look for more OEM partners, as well as integration with Amazon and other public cloud providers.
“We’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes with public clouds,” Richter said. “You can’t found a company in Seattle in 2012 and not build a public cloud strategy.”
Qumulo claims it had a 425% year-over-year growth in petabytes shipped to customers, but does not say what its revenue growth is. Richter makes it clear that the young company is not yet close to break-even and the current funding likely will not be its last round.
“We’re in investment mode,” he said. “We’re hiring sales people as fast as we can. At the same time, we’re certainly cognizant of building a business structure with a long-term, sustainable profit model.”
Northern Light Venture Capital led the latest Qumulo funding round with previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Madrona Venture Group, Top Tier Capital Partners and Tyche Partners contributing.
ZeroStack’s “private cloud in a box” software is now available on Nimble Storage boxes. The vendors this week launched a joint partnership to sell ZeroStack Intelligent Cloud Platform software on Nimble Storage arrays. The goal is to provide a pre-tested, automated private cloud system with the ability to connect to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud in a hybrid setup.
The partnership comes in Nimble’s final days as an independent company, pending Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) closing on its $1.2 billion Nimble acquisition.
Kamesh Pemmaraju, ZeroStack’s vice president of product management, describes the Intelligent Cloud Platform as “a self-driving private cloud.” ZeroStack manages and supports the platform, either on appliances it sells or on partner hardware. ZeroStack software can move workloads back and forth from AWS to VMware-centric on-premises workloads for a hybrid cloud setup.
Customers running Intelligent Cloud Platform on other hardware can use Nimble as back-end storage. Intelligent Cloud Platform will enable customers to manage Nimble Storage volumes through the ZeroStack interfaces, supporting Nimble features such as quality of service, deduplication and encryption.
With a KVM-based hypervisor built in, Intelligent Cloud Platform can bring hyper-converged-type cloud capabilities to a Nimble array.
“This is a Nutanix killer,” Pemmaraju said, referring to the hyper-converged leader that is expanding into private cloud-building.
Of course, the partnership could mean zero if HPE decides to discontinue it. But ZeroStack’s Pemmaraju said his company already partners with HPE to sell its software on HPE servers, 3PAR StoreServ storage arrays and SimpliVity hyper-converged systems.
“We already work closely with HPE on a number of fronts,” he said. “That relationship is strong and we’re happy about this [Nimble] acquisition.”
ZeroStack software is also available on Dell EMC, Cisco, Lenovo and Supermicro servers. Appliances sold by ZeroStack use Supermicro servers underneath.
U.S. organizations are taking General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance at least as seriously as their European Union counterparts, according to a recent survey commissioned by Veritas Technologies.
The GDPR passed in the EU will put in place privacy rules across all EU countries. Organizations that fail to comply can be fined up to 20 million Euros or 4% of their worldwide revenue. The regulations call for organizations to disclose retention times for personal information and allow customers to demand organizations to erase their personal data if they do not consent to its collection. In many cases, companies must notify authorities of data breaches within 24 hours. To reach GDPR compliance, many companies must make significant changes to their business practices around collecting and storing data. Organizations must be compliant by May 26, 2018.
In a survey of 900 companies worldwide with at least 1,000 employees, Veritas found less than 31% of global companies meet the minimum standards today. That may not be a great surprise, considering companies still have nearly 14 months to comply. But it is a surprise that U.S organizations are running ahead of those in the U.K. and European Union in meeting GDPR compliance. Of 200 U.S. companies in the survey, 35% were in compliance, and U.S. companies plan on spending 20% more than European companies to comply.
A PwC survey released in January that polled 200 U.S. companies with more than 500 employees found 77% plan to spend at least $1 million on GDPR compliance.
“The expectation was that European organizations would be further ahead,” said Zach Bosin, Veritas director of solutions marketing. “But American companies have taken a thoughtful approach and started investing in becoming compliant.”
Why should U.S. companies care about an EU regulation? Because GDPR applies to any data held in connection to an EU resident. Any U.S. organization selling to customers in Europe would have to follow GDPR guidelines. That includes e-commerce companies who reach a global customer base.
Organizations need to know what personally identifiable information (PII) they have on European residents, and they must be able to present that information upon request by consumers to be in GDPR compliance.
Veritas and other data protection vendors say they can help because their technology is already used to store vast amounts of companies’ data in backup and archiving systems. Bosin said Veritas has created a framework for staying GDPR compliant built around its products such as NetBackup, Enterprise Vault, Data Insight and its Resiliency Platform. The vendor is also offering assessment services to help organizations gain GDPR compliance.
Bosin said the five key stages for becoming GDPR compliant are locating the relevant data, searching it, minimizing data through retention and deletion policies, protecting data transparently with audit report and monitoring data so a company can respond to a breach within 72 hours.
“We will integrate more advance search, classification, and protection tools in our products,” Bosin said.
Low-end NAS specialist Drobo is pushing further down market, launching a performance-oriented hybrid NAS aimed at small businesses and distributed collaboration.
The five-bay 5N2 Drobo NAS is a desktop model that sits between Drobo’s 5C and 5D direct-attached storage and its block-based B810i and B1200i iSCSI midrange SANs.
Raw storage tops out at 60 TB with 12 TB SATA disks, with 48 TB of effective capacity. Performance characteristics include the ability to bond two Gigabit Ethernet ports for adaptive link failover. Linking does not require the purchase of special routers. A sixth drive slot, known as the Drobo Accelerator Bay, supports a hot data flash cache with mSATA devices.
Drobo said the 5N2 provides twice the performance of its 5N NAS and boosts Drobo file sharing up to seven times. DroboDR disaster recovery allows site-to-site replication between source and target Drobo NAS devices, including user configurations and settings.
The new Drobo storage targets media, prosumer and small businesses with about 250 users.
The 5N2 Drobo NAS marks the vendor’s second product release after years of transition. Founder Geoff Barrall launched Drobo in 2005 and served as CEO until 2009. Barrall later started file-sharing startup Connected Data, which acquired Drobo in 2013.
Connected Data planned to integrate its Transporter file sharing and data migration technology across Drobo NAS and SAN devices, but that integration never took shape. Instead, Connected Data targeted Transporter at the enterprise market and spun out Drobo as a separate company, selling it in 2015 to a group of investors headed by former Brocade Communications’ executive Mihir Shah, Drobo’s current CEO. Connected Data subsequently was acquired by Imation Corp., the holding company for Nexsan Inc.
Drobo employees are glad to put the turmoil behind them and concentrate on Drobo’s NAS roots, CTO Rod Harrison said.
“It took us about nine months to prime the pipeline and get new products out. We have more than 400,000 units sold and will have a lot of new stuff coming this year,” Harrison said.
As with other Drobo storage gear, the 5N2 appliance supports 64 TB thinly provisioned volumes with its BeyondRAID data protection. Journaling is protected by internal backup battery. Data in flight is written to an embedded USB flash stick.
The MyDrobo software platform provides remote data access with end-to-end encryption. DroboAccess allows mobile file sharing across Drobo storage. List pricing for Drobo 5N2 starts at $499.