Yottabytes: Storage and Disaster Recovery

Feb 28 2013   12:19AM GMT

Storage Startup Market Heats Up

Sharon Fisher Sharon Fisher Profile: Sharon Fisher

The storage industry is exciting. No, really. People are throwing millions of dollars at storage startups, which apparently seem more secure to them than things like Facebook.

“In Silicon Valley, data centers are heating up with startups like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage pulling in massive funding rounds and Michael Dell announcing a storage-focused investment fund,” writes Christina Farr at VentureBeat.

  • Nexenta, a software-based storage company, received $24 million this week in its fourth round of financing from new investors Four Rivers Group, Presidio Ventures, and UMC Capital with participation by existing Nexenta investors Menlo Ventures, TransLink Capital, Javelin Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Razor’s Edge Ventures, and West Summit Capital. Its previous round, in January 2012, raised $21 million. In the process, the company also got a new CEO and CMO. It has experienced triple-digit growth for three consecutive years and reportedly has more than 5,000 users.
  • Skyera, a flash startup, closed $51.6 million in second round financing led by Dell Ventures a week ago. It was founded in August, 2012.
  • Pure Storage, another flash vendor, got $40 million in its fourth round of funding in August, 2012. The latest funding round was led by Mike Volpi at Index Ventures, with participation from Greylock, Redpoint, Sutter Hill, angels from VMware and DataDomain, and others, according to VentureBeat.
  • Nimble Storage, a startup that provides data storage, backup, and disaster recovery, closed a $40.7 million second round of funding in September, 2012. First round investors Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed, and Artis Capital participated, alongside newcomer GGV Capital. It was founded in July, 2010.
Both Nexenta’s and Nimble’s most recent rounds were oversubscried.

Dell’s $60 million fund, run by its investing arm Dell Ventures, was founded in July, 2012 to seed $3-$5 million in five to 10 promising startups, with Dell maintaining an equity position. This was not new to Dell; it was an early investor in VMWare and flash memory startup Fusion-io (whose chief scientist is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak). (Skyera is also setting itself up as a competitor to Fusion-io.) This is on top of Dell itself acquiring more than two dozen storage companies.

“What’s happening in Flash memory is kind of an interesting place to start because if you think about the relationship between servers and storage and how sort of performance occurs and apps are distributed, not what we’re able to do is put large amounts of memory — we’ve actually designed this ourselves into our 12th-generation servers that we’re shipping now,” Dell told Fortune in announcing the fund. “Put several terabytes of memory directly in the server.  We acquired a little company that gives us cache coherency across a large number of servers.  And so you start to rethink what is a server, what’s storage, what’s the network when you have virtualization and now you have 50 virtual machines, 100 virtual machines, 500 virtual machines in one.  So, the storage world is really getting shaken up a tremendous amount.”

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