Datera emerges from stealth to offer another take on cloud scale-out storage

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Hybrid infrastructure seems to be the way of the future, but is it too late for new private offerings to gain traction?

Stealthy startup Datera is launching today with its promise to bring an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-type of offering to large enterprises and service providers.

If that sounds like an offering you might have heard before, it's probably because for the past six to eight years, a number of vendors, seeing the traction that AWS has gained, have jumped on the bandwagon and offered a value proposition in the same area. There have been broad cloud operating system offerings, including OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus, more specialist storage platforms such as Ceph, Gluster, SimpliVity and Nutanix and hyperconverged offerings form the likes of VMware, Dell and Hewlett Packard. It's a busy space and one that is hanging off incredible growth in awareness and adoption of cloud offerings.

Given all of the activity in this space, you'd be forgiven for assuming that every possible product opportunity had already been filled. Apparently not if you believe what Datera has to say. Their Elastic Data Fabric that automatically composes scale-out storage on standard servers is already in production with both enterprise and service provider customers.

The company is, at the same time as it emerges from stealth, announcing $40 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, Samsung Ventures and Silicon Valley luminaries Andy Bechtolsheim and Pradeep Sindhu. There are some big names in there who are well aware of current trends in the technology industry, so this funding isn't simply a stab in the dark. Indeed, Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, talked up both the broad changes in the technology space and Datera's offering in particular:

“Khosla Ventures invests in category-defining infrastructure companies that automate the agile IT era. There’s a fundamental shift going on in data centers towards seamless automation. Datera has assembled a world-class team to deliver the type of intelligent software we believe is emerging as the foundation of next-generation cloud data centers. Now proven with customers, Datera’s intelligent hyper-composable infrastructure software is changing the game for anyone needing to deploy cloud scale-out storage.”

In terms of the broader ecosystem, Datera natively integrates with OpenStack, VMware vSphere, CloudStack and container orchestration platforms such as Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos. Key features of the product:

  • Hyper-composable architecture understands application intent, such as performance and protection levels, and infrastructure capabilities to intelligently shape the underlying storage. This decouples storage provisioning from infrastructure management and optimizes price/performance for every application.
  • API-first operations provide web-scale automation with full infrastructure programmability.
  • Grow-as-you-go model with transparent data migration makes it possible for IT and DevOps to seamlessly scale across many configurations and generations of industry-standard x86 servers.
  • Flash-first design delivers high efficiency and low latency across distributed diverse storage media types. This maximizes application performance and access density.
  • Multi-tenancy along with quality of service for cloud-native and traditional workloads, across containers, VMs and bare metal. This optimizes asset utilization and simplifies operations.

Tapjoy is one organization that has long been held up as an exemplar for using private-cloud infrastructure to meet its increasingly dynamic needs. Wes Jossey, senior director of engineering at Tapjoy, is a pretty excited user:

"Infrastructure has traditionally been a game of trade-offs. The right balance of elasticity, reliability and cost has perpetually been a dark art. While others seek to improve one variable, Datera has re-written the equation. With the Datara Elastic Data Fabric, one no longer has to make a hard trade-off. Decoupling storage expands my elasticity, improves overall redundancy and drives cost down through efficient utilization. Datera just threw out the rulebook on storage, and we should all take notice."

Some big, influential names are giving a high-level of endorsement to Datera. It's going to be interesting to watch how this company executes.

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