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Tintri trousers $25m to crank out flash storage grease

Kerrr-ching: Cashes in on the server virtualisation trend

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Accelerating virtualised servers is proving a profitable game for Tintri. The start-up has been doubling revenues every quarter since its launch last year and has just gained a large slug of cash from venture capitalists who see great prospects of a large payout.

Tintri launched in March 2011 with a hybrid flash and disk drive storage appliance, the VMstore T440, for accelerating virtualised servers. Its system software dealt with VMware virtual machine abstractions instead of files, blocks and LUNs. The net result is more virtual machines per server.

At launch it had completed three funding rounds which had brought in around $45m and paid for the hardware and software development. Now there has been a fourth funding round of $25m, with Menlo Ventures joining the two original venture cap firms. What persuaded the three to put in so much cash and what is it going to be used for?

Tintri sales have been growing at 100 per cent a quarter on average since March 2011 and it says it has more than 100 customers, up from the 40 mentioned at the end of 2011. It adds that said customers are spread across "many vertical markets" of "many sizes" (translation: its product appeal is generic to all organisations with VMware servers, so its addressable market is potentially huge).

CEO and founder Kieran Harty referred to this in his quote: "This investment validates the success and innovation we have achieved to date and the enormous market opportunity."

The product range now encompasses the T445, which is a 4U single controller product, and the T540 – a 3U dual-controller product. Tintri has added VM cloning to better support VDI, test and development and other areas where VM provisioning is needed.

The additional cash will be used for research and development, expanding sales operations and building out its global infrastructure. The development might involve adding Microsoft Hyper-V support, greatly increasing Tintri's potential market and adding interest opportunities in Microsoft's channel. Deduplication may be of interest as well, although, as a hybrid flash-disk device, Tintri's appliance doesn't face the same cost problems as all-flash appliances do.

Tegile's Zebi hybrid array does have deduplication. Tintri could decide that flash is becoming affordable enough for it to produce a go-faster, all-flash version of the appliance, making deduplication more interesting as a development focus.

Hybrid storage, combining flash and disk, is cheaper and more capacious than all-flash storage, and faster and not appreciably less capacious than all-disk storage. At the moment it is in a storage product sweet spot, one with a balance of speed, cost and capacity, that looks to be stable for a number of years as server virtualisation floods like a tidal wave through data centres everywhere. Tintri seems intent on harvesting hay while the sun shines. ®

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