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Barrall's baby gets bundle of cash for scale-out filer tech

Gridstore scores $12.5m to embiggen sales

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Grid-based scale-out filer storage startup Gridstore has landed $12.5m in funding to expand its sales channels.

Gridstor, background here, provides a scale-out filer, the GS100, in a grid – a trademarked kind, called The Grid – using low-cost Atom-powered nodes and VCT (Virtual Controller Technology), which provides simpler virtual pooling of storage capacity than a clustered system.

As you might expect, the participating investors are dead keen about the company's product and prospects. Glenn Solomon, a partner at investor GGV Capital, has joined Gridstore's board, and said: "The company's approach is unique and its customers rave about the combination of simplicity, performance and value that Gridstore delivers."

Another investor, Shomit Ghose, a partner at ONSET Ventures, has also joined the board, and said: "Legacy storage architectures weren’t designed to support the requirements of Big Data, cloud and virtualisation environments." Actually the monolithic and dual controller arrays are doing OK now, but in a future with massively more amounts of data coming every organisation's way they can't grow fast enough or in small enough increments for companies on tight budgets.

EMC is talking a step in this direction with its acquired Isilon scale-out filer technology which, sources say, is likely to become the mainstay of its Hadoop big data activities.

Gridstore chaireman Geoff Barrall, the founder of BlueArc and Drobo, has previously said: "I've been looking at scale-out storage solutions for many years and every product has been fraught with low performance and high cost caused by the clustering model that has been universally used.

"When I was introduced to Gridstore, my first thought was: 'Here is a company that finally has it right.' Its simple, elegant design allows for a much higher level of performance and scale than cluster-based solutions, while requiring a fraction of their cost to maintain," he enthused.

Gridstore founder and CEO Kelly Murphy adds: “It’s the end of big storage. The dynamics of enterprise storage requirements are changing and 30-year-old legacy technology doesn’t cut it anymore. Web-scale giants such as Amazon and Google have proven that."

Gridstore is targeting mid-market enterprises who can't afford the cost and complexity involved in growing traditional dual-controller array estates and need a simpler Lego storage box model – add a node and it just fits right in and works.

A £12.5m cash infusion is not generous, and takes total funding to $15m, but then Gridstore is primarily a software company, and doesn't need hardware development levels of cash. It will be interesting to see how it parlays this dozen million dollars into a sales channel oriented to small and medium enterprises and the traction it gets with them. It's the perennial question in storage start-up land: will users buy from a start-up or choose tried and tested and known big brand suppliers? ®

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