CRN Mass Storage

Mass storage: an alternative for leaders

In the storage industry, which seems to be dominated by a few concerns, there is plenty of room for smaller players offering innovative solutions. Such companies were the subject of the Technology Live! in London. It was attended by four producers who are slowly entering this market or have been present on it for a long time, but only recently have made an attempt to reach a wider group of customers. The first group includes HYCU and Lightbits Labs.

And although, metaphorically speaking, the weather for startups is clearly deteriorating, both of these companies have received a serious financial injection in recent months. For HYCU, it was $ 53 million, and the investors included Bain Capital, Acrew Capital, Atlassian Ventures, and Cisco Capital. Meanwhile, Lightbits Labs has raised $ 42 million in capital from Atreides Management, Celesta, Cisco Investments, Dell Technologies Capital and Micron Technology.

HYCU: from narrow specialization to multi-cloud

HYCU debuted on the market in 2018, and its two founders – Goran Garevski and Simon Taylor – had a rather unusual idea to start a business. Well, they came to the conclusion that they would start developing specialized software for data backup processed by Nutanix hyperconverged systems. Although HCI solutions were on an upward wave at the time, and Nutanix was dealing cards in this market segment, its target audience was nevertheless quite limited.

It is possible that the founders of HYCU followed the example of the creators of Veeam, who started their adventure with the business by providing backup tools for VMware virtual machines. Will HYCU achieve similar success? It is too early to answer in the affirmative, although the Boston-based startup is on the right track to achieve this goal. Over the past four years, the company has expanded its portfolio of backup software for Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure. At the same time, it is in line with the latest trend by offering backup in a multi-cloud environment.

Initially, HYCU emerged from a deep niche throwing the gauntlet of market leaders. Currently, the solutions of this brand are used by over 3,000 customers from 75 countries, including such concerns as: Pfizer, Broadcom Honeywell and Toshiba. Recently, the company launched a free ransomware readiness assessment service R-Score for its customers, which it developed together with specialists from Mandiant – a well-known cybersecurity systems provider (this year it was acquired for $ 5.4 billion by Google). HYCU’s further plans assume entering new markets, enriching the SaaS offer, and developing cooperation with the partner channel.

Lightbits focuses on high speeds

Lightbits Labs, like HYCU, received funding in June that enables the company to further develop its NVMe-based storage system. The startup started its operations in 2016, and its founders are not only the authors of the Software Defined Storage solution, but also the NVMe / TCP standard, which was ratified by the NVM Express consortium at the end of 2018.

When designing its proprietary system, Lightbits modeled on the IT infrastructure used by Amazon, Google and Facebook. One of its greatest advantages is the easy scaling of the disk space, independent of the computing power. The Lightbits solution is a software-defined storage system using an x86 server with NVMe carriers, designed to work in any cloud environment, including multi-cloud applications.

The basic product configuration starts with three servers, and additional units can be added at any time without disrupting the overall system, with the cluster dynamically balanced. The same is true when the user attaches new NVMe media.

– The total cost of ownership of our product is 80 percent lower compared to DAS, Software Defined Storage or SAN arrays. This is primarily due to the intelligent flash memory management system, which allows you to extend the life of QLC media up to twenty times, as well as the effect of data reduction or the lack of hypervisors in storage nodes – emphasizes Kam Eshghi, CSO Lightbits.

The startup led by him sees one of its advantages over competitors in the use of the NVMe-over-TCP protocol, which guarantees low latency and does not require investment in new equipment.

For hybrid employees

As the amount of unstructured data increased exponentially, there were concerns among entrepreneurs about the costs generated by the growth of storage systems. Exponential data growth increases the challenges of remote access, file sharing, high availability, continuous data availability, and backup. Of course, multi-branch companies are in a particularly difficult situation.

It is not without reason that solutions that allow sharing and synchronizing data between cloud services and devices located in different locations are gaining popularity. The competition in this market segment is very interesting, as NetApp managed to win a strong position next to the largest cloud service providers, which is strongly pressured by smaller players, including Komprise, Nasuni and CTERA. Peer Software is a more unknown vendor in this group. This American company, headquartered in Los Angeles, has been operating since 1993. Interestingly, it was self-sufficient from the beginning and did not use venture capital funds. Peer Sofware’s flagship product is a global file distribution service.

– We meet the expectations of dispersed multi-branch companies. For example, they often have problems such as slow access to files on WAN networks. This reduces work productivity and frustrates users , says Jimmy Tam, CEO of Peer Software.

Peer Software recently entered into a strategic alliance with Pulsar Security to monitor and analyze emerging and evolving patterns of ransomware and malware attacks against unstructured data.

Autonomous data protection

According to IDC, global data growth will reach 175 zettabytes in 2025. The lion’s share of it is cold, unstructured data, which is often sensitive and needs to be properly protected. For the German company iTernity, which has been operating in the data archiving segment since 2004, it is a great opportunity to go beyond the local market.

– We must remember that not every client manages hundreds of terabytes, but with the expected increase in the amount of data and progressive digitization, even customers with smaller data volumes face serious challenges – emphasized Ralf Steinemann, CEO of iTernity, during this year’s Technology Live! Meeting.

German specialists have two solutions in their portfolio. The first is archiving middleware that integrates with the existing infrastructure of organizations. The second product is a standalone platform for storing user backups and all archive data. The system works in a local environment, but draws its patterns from cloud services. The software is designed in such a way that it does not require the intervention of the storage administrator. The solution is monitored by iTernity, and any errors are detected and repaired automatically by this system.

– Managing our platform takes sixty-one percent less time compared to similar solutions offered by cloud service providers. It looks even more advantageous compared to competitive solutions working in a local environment – says Marta Borasio, Product Manager at iTernity.

This company sells products through an affiliate channel. It also works closely with HPE, making iTernity solutions available through HPE GreenLake. The German supplier has 1,200 customers, including Polish Orlen.

Original article published on CRN