This article provides a roundup of the companies that Information Age met during The IT Press Tour to San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
As the data ecosystem continues to grow, the need to manage and protect this data across multiple environments becomes paramount.
Businesses in traditional industries need data solutions that are easy to deploy, easy to protect and easy to manage. Data protection and management must be easy for non-technical individuals in the digital era.
Atempo is a French-based company that protects and migrates large data volumes, with the ability to grasp complex workflows on-premise and in the cloud.
Its services include data backup and recovery, data restoration, data integrity and analytical insights.
In 2022, the company has begun to converge its product portfolio (protection, management and support) to provide a better experience to their customers with the integration of solutions in a common foundation for zero business disruption.
The aim is to provide continuous data protection (CDP) and management, which will give businesses the ability to resist Ransomware, manage legacy environments and provide temporal navigation – this protects data over different time periods, while restoring complete infrastructure and granular files.
Traditionally, DDN Storage has focused on traditional data storage for unstructured data and big data in enterprise, government and academic sectors.
Now, it is redefining the imperatives that are driving it as a company, focusing on AI storage.
Corporate investments in AI hit a new record in 2021, with Microsoft – as an example – investing $1 billion in an artificial intelligence project, co-founded by Elon Musk.
To meet these changing market demands, DDN released A³I. This allows organisations to focus their AI workflow concurrently, continuously, all in one place by simplifying data management with universal, unified, secured access for distributed AI solutions.
This focus is at the heart of DDN’s growth strategy moving forward and is crucial in helping organisations solve the new challenges of data, as the boundaries of traditional computing and analytics shift to a new era.
Traditionally, public cloud giants, such as AWS and Azure, have owned the cloud storage space. But, a few years ago some players initiated some interesting decentralised models leveraging blockchain technology.
Among recent players, some iterate with an aggregation capability to connect multiple object storage in decentralised environments.
This is the case for Filebase.
The company, founded in 2019 and based in Boston, designs and built its own unification layer that offers the routing of data to the right back-end networks. As of today, Filebase supports 3 of them: Sia, Storj and Skynet.
One attractive aspect of Filebase, beyond the ubiquity of the solution and its resiliency, is its price with the flat model at $5,99/TB/Month. To test the solution before adopting it, 5GB are free.
The next iteration will be to add other back-end storage networks to its solution, such as Filecoin, Arweave and IPFS, plus some CDN capabilities. We also heard that the S3 object lock will be added that gives an archive flavor to Filebase.
The challenge of data storage is that no one storage type serves all requirements.
Storage is designed to be local and so silos emerge. This problem is compounded by the properties of data and extracting value from it:
- Data out-lasts the storage it’s on today;
- Different cost and performance bands;
- Different protocols for broader access;
- Incompatible silos emerge;
- Increased IT complexity to manage;
- Distributed storage and users add to these problems.
The cloud and multi-cloud reality means data silos are no longer local problems. Distributed workforces also need direct online access to data and global management of data services, data protection, and intelligent data placement are impossible. These further add to cost and IT complexity.
The aim is to solve these challenges by enabling local data access and data services across multiple local, cloud, and remote storage resources to meet user’s data storage needs: high performance global access to data from any data centre, any cloud, any region and any application, with effective global management and control of data and storage resources.
Hammerspace says its solution can help meet these new data storage needs, across four areas.
- Global file system for global access – a single logical file system that spans data centres and cross-clouds
- Global data orchestration – a metadata control plane that’s aggregated from all resources and locations
- Automated global metadata and data services – a single pane of glass view that allows IT Admins to have global control of all services, which eliminates complexity and reduces isolated point solutions for siloed services.
- Serving all storage requirements – the solution works across storage types and cross-data centre.
The hardware storage market is struggling to deliver better performance as capacity continues to increase.
The current market can be broken down into three areas:
- USB and SSDs – low capacity and low performance.
- Internal PCIe SSDs and Thunderbolt SSDs – strong performance but low capacity, scaling up to 8TBs.
- HDD + SSD RAID Box – large capacity but mediocre performance, as they were designed for hard drives.
Iodyne is a new company looking to address this challenge in the hardware storage market by providing professional users, such as editors or videographers, with the best technology and tools to manage their creative assets.
Its first solution, Pro Data, is the fastest thunderbolt storage unit for M1 Macs and RAID Storage array.
“We’ve taken the latest and greatest storage tech from the enterprise and consumer space, and compressed them down into the size of a 15-inch laptop,” said Iodyne co-founder, Mike Shapiro.
The result is a device that can house 12TB or 24TB NVMe Storage and up to 5 GB/s of performance. This represents huge capacity and offers the very fastest external storage for Macs. Beta testing for Windows and Linux is underway and should be available this year.
“This is first device in the industry to have 8 full independent thunderbolt ports and industry-first thunderbolt NVMe multipathing in a consumer-friendly form,” added Shapiro.
The storage device can connect more than four computers at the same time, allowing videographers, editors, colourists and technicians to move files between each other simultaneously.
It contains end-to-end encryption protected with enterprise RAID design.
Crucially, the service includes a Design for Repair feature that is linked to the iodyne cloud. Telemetry data is continuously uploaded to the cloud and if there are any issues, new drives can be sent out and the data will be automatically preserved.
The recently founded company is working with individual creators, such as Shan-Lu – a photographer with work on Apple’s ad campaigns, the BBC website, Flickr and various magazines. With a traditional storage solution, her photo archive deduplication process took overnight and it now takes an hour with Pro Data, which is an important part of improving workflow.
Iodyne also works with larger customers, such as Cintegral, who create custom storage and video tech for movie professionals at the largest Hollywood productions houses, to improve on-set connection and performance for editors.
6. Kalista IO
Storage devices have a compatibility and performance problem for the user: hard drive capacity is increasing year-on-year, but performance is stagnating.
New storage devices are not compatible with current applications and operating systems, such as shingled magnetic recording (SMR), energy assisted magnetic recording, multi-actuator and variable capacity.
On top of this, traditional storage vendors created the solutions, but let the user configure and integrate it. Users’ experience isn’t in storage or how the hard drive works.
Customers “need a storage system that allows users to take advantage of all next gen storage tech, without needing knowledge to modify applications or kernel,” said Albert Chen, Founder at Kalista IO, who created one of the very first HM-SMR storage systems solutions.
His solution is the Phalanx Storage System, which forms device friendly commands that enable consistent and predictable performance over time.
- Supports SMR natively – the gaps between hardware tracks;
- Writing disks sequentially;
- Minimise seeks and contention – increase IO density;
- Evenly distributes wear across available capacity, preventing hotspots; and reducing long tail latency with legacy stacks.
IT organisations have a growing volume of unstructured data, like text, video, audio, web server logs, social media and more. Managing and making decisions on this data is a significant challenge for IT leaders.
Now, unstructured data management, for data-heavy organisations, is an enterprise IT priority. They need to identify, index, tag and monetise this information that sits across disparate, hard to access, silos.
Komprise, an intelligent data management and mobility company, says it’s offering can solve this problem: “We dramatically save our customers money by tiering cold data to the cloud, in a transparent, native AI/ML ready solution that doesn’t sit in front of the hot data,” said Kumar Goswami, CEO and co-founder.
Gartner says the company “gives a new weapon in the arsenal for IT leaders to make decisions on [unstructured] data.”
Komprise’s solution also allows for deep analytics of the data, on-premise and in the cloud, in a single pane view to help extract value.
Last week, MinIO announced its $103 million Series B funding round, bringing the total investment to $126 million, which valued the company at over $1 billion and in turn, saw them join the ever-growing Unicorn list.
The investment was led by Intel Capital with participation from new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and existing investors Dell Capital, General Catalyst and Nexus Venture Partners.
“This investment shows that we are aligned with where Intel sees the world going. The CEO, Patrick Gelsinger presented the terms sheet, showing how highly they value the work we’re doing,” said Jonathan Symonds, Chief Marketing Officer at MinIO. “Developers are the one’s now driving value in the enterprise,” he continued.
But what does MinIO do?
The Palo Alto-based company runs on a simple ethos: object storage as primary storage.
Why object storage? “It simply scales better than alternative technologies,” said Anand Babu Periasamy, CEO and co-founder.
Object storage is also the storage medium of Kubernetes, the future of the cloud.
Their ambition is to make the multi-cloud simple and ubiquitous and are guided by the cloud being a set of principles, rather than a virtual space.
“We want to be the competitor to the public cloud providers everywhere [across the multi-cloud, which is made up of public and private cloud, and the edge] to run infrastructure at scale. We’re the only true multi-cloud player in the market today and have a significant edge over AWS as we continue to innovate,” said Symonds.
MinIO runs on a high performance, Kubernetes-native object store. It’s been designed for large-scale data infrastructure and was built from scratch to be cloud native, meaning it doesn’t have to “backport” its services to the cloud.
Seven years after being founded, it has now become the storage standard for multi-cloud architectures.
Key to MinIO’s success is its speed and simplicity. It is the world’s fastest object store, operating at 80% faster than it was a few years ago. This changes the game in terms of the types of workloads organisations can do with analytics databases and AI/ML that demands performance at scale.
The solution is so fast because it works on a single layer, with no metadata database and SIMD acceleration, combined with GO + Assembly language.
The trend of moving cloud workloads back to on-premise is a rapidly increasing priority for CIOs. This is because as IT budgets shrink, costs are spiraling and the need for certain workloads to remain in the enterprise, for security and regulation purposes in key industries, is intensifying.
Implemented on a dedicated card that functions as an IoT endpoint, the Nebulon storage processing unit (SPU) helps enterprises realise the IaaS benefits of the public cloud experience on-premise, from any server vendor of choice. It’s all about data storage and management.
smartInfrastructure – running software on physical card, with no OS dependency. It doesn’t matter what workload is running, users can maintain the same servers.
smartOps – this helps reduce operational overheads up to 75% and allows for rack to full stack in less than 10 minutes.
smartData – start up to 33% smaller, stay leaner with cost and density efficiencies and helps protect investments (infrastructure re-usability and future proofing).
smartInstance – immunise the infrastructure for cyber security threat protection with the same experience every time for consistency, predictability and reliability.
10. Tiger Technology
The move to the cloud presents a number of challenges when it comes to the transfer of workflows from on-premise to cloud.
To overcome this, organisations are increasingly opting for a “Cloud first” hybrid storage model.
However, when it comes to organisation’s that hold sensitive data – such as banks or airports – they need an “On-prem first” approach that provides the benefits of the cloud – scalability, flexibility and analysis – along with the security and reliability of storing data on-premise.
This is why Tiger Technology, a software development company specialising in storage solutions, pivoted in 2017. They wanted to address the emerging challenges in the hybrid cloud storage market by creating an “on-prem first” solution that creates a connection between on-premise data and any cloud provider or cloud tier.