Today web-based data storage solutions provider ScaleIO announced the launch of its Elastic Converged Storage (ECS), which eliminates a company’s dependence on an expensive external Storage Area Network (SAN) by using and grouping a server’s own disks to form a virtual SAN (vSAN). The company is looking to disrupt a $20 billion SAN storage industry, having already completed 24 successful pilot projects, and has signed on five major customers including SAP and Colt. It raised $12 million in September from Greylock Partners and Norwest Venture Parters to get the company geared up for its launch.
The ScaleIO team consists of seasoned storage industry professionals with experience at the helm of other startup and blue chip companies like NetApp, IBM, and EMC among others. CEO Boaz Palgi spoke with BetaKit about how the company is looking to shake things up with its latest technology. “We’ve been in the data storage industry effectively helping to build that industry for the last 15 years. In the past servers didn’t have a lot of resources, and so all the resources on the server had to be utilized for the applications, there was no way to get advanced storage functionality into the application server, so that’s how the whole Storage Area Network grew up,” said Palgi in an interview.
Their solution aims to address severe pain points faced by IT managers in companies today, according to Palgi. “There’s a lot of vendor lock-in in the storage industry. So once you’ve decided you want to work with a product from a certain vendor it’s very hard to switch. You need to train your people and get them certified…you need a lot of inter-op, it’s very hard to make changes if needed, it’s very hard to scale when you want to add more servers to your data centers, and in general the storage part represents over 35 percent of the IT budget of most organizations,” Palgi added.
The value proposition of ScaleIO’s vSAN is that nodes can be added, moved, and removed on the fly with scaling capabilities that can extend storage capacity by what the company states is hundreds and thousands of nodes. It also offers companies the flexibility to run its technology on any existing infrastructure, in addition to enabling customers to manage their storage like any enterprise application thanks to its dashboard allowing any IT admin to manage the technology.
The company believes its disruptive solution of offering a virtual storage solution at 1/10 of the cost of what it would cost companies to invest in alternative solutions could help it gain an edge in a marketplace dominated by industry giants like IBM, Oracle, and HP, which also has its own Virtual Storage Appliance (VPA) technology. However, Palgi mentioned how the company’s technology effectively deals with the top concerns and challenges data centers face today according to a 2011 survey by Data Centre Knowledge, including scalability, capacity planning, and running out of space among others, making it a viable contestant in the marketplace.
With its launch today and funding secured earlier in the year, ScaleIO will be adding to its sales and management team while continuing to grow its revenue with existing small to mid-sized data center accounts. With a value proposition of cost savings while still maintaining the high computing processing power and storage scalability enterprises require to stay competitive in the market today, the ScaleIO looks poised to continue carving out a niche in the storage industry.