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Would you rip'n'replace your IT for Simplivity kit? Upstart reckons so

Storage-compute box maker aiming for $200m-a-year sales

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Blocks and Files Simplivity makes scale-out converged server-storage Omnicubes, and you have to rip-and-replace your IT infrastructure to make the best use of them. This sounds like a hard sell, but many of its customers are doing just that as the startup heads towards a $200m run-rate.

The company was founded in September 2009, and it spent three and half years – to April 2013 – writing code running on Linux before its first product reached general availability. Founder Doron Kempel bankrolled it for the first year and then went to VCs for A, B and C-rounds of funding with some $101m raised in total.

It has sold its Omnicube kit for five quarters now, and has 260 partners worldwide, being a 100 per cent channel company.

Competitor Nutanix has reached a $200m revenue run-rate in its eleventh quarter of shipping products. Kempel said: "We'll get to a $200 million run rate in our eighth quarter."

But Dell has struck an OEM deal with Nutanix. Will Simplivity be able to keep up?

Kempel said customers like the fact that as soon as data hits an Omnicube it is deduped and compressed and stays that way forever in the Omnicube universe, including replication to other Omnicubes. Rehydration only happens when it exits Simplivity's domain. Customers have achieved 20:1 and even 30:1 data reduction ratios; that's Kempel's claim.

The dedupe and compression is carried out by a PCIe accelerator card, with an FPGA and NVRAM on it, with two exceptions; running Omnicube software on a laptop or as a virtual machine in the Amazon cloud. Then the dedupe and compression is done by software.

Only one VMware admin person is needed to manage a customer's set of Omnicubes, wherever they are deployed, which, Kempel says, radically cuts management costs.

Simplivity customer data shows:

  • Some 1,000 Omnicubes have been deployed.
  • There are "hundreds of customers".
  • 60 per cent of Omnicube applications are databases.
  • 65 per cent of its customers run all their IT on Omnicubes in two or more sites.
  • Some started doing this six months after the kit went on general availability; Kempel mentions regional banks in the US.
  • Sixty cities in New York state are Simplivity customers.

Simplivity's headcount was 100 people in August 2013, 200 people in February 2014, 300 in June 2014 and is 350 now, in August. There are about 140 engineers and 120 sales heads, with as many field people in EMEA as there are in the US. Altogether there are some 60 employees in the EMEA region.

Reaching a $200m run-rate eight quarters after first shipping means achieving a $50m quarter. Kempel founded data deduper Diligent with Moshe Yanai, and sold it to IBM for about $200m, so I wouldn't bet against him.

With Major League Baseball being a customer, it looks like Simplivity has scored a home run. ®

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