A potential IPO, some upgrades, Overland sold, and 'Fortify the continuum of..' whut?

It's your week in storage, kids

It's been an eventful week in storage land, with contract wins, possible IPOs, biz unit sales and the inevitable poring over financial results. Let's have a look at the people, the product and the numbers...

Excelero and healthcare

NVMe-over-Fabrics startup Excelero has won IT consulting practice CMA as a customer. CMA’s MicroTerabyte “data warehouse in a box” and an Oracle RAC cluster-based analytics offering is integrated with Excelero’s NVMesh server SAN.

Brian Dougherty, chief technical architect at CMA, said: “We deployed NVMesh in just two days, versus several weeks for DSSD – 80 per cent faster."

He added: “NVMesh performance was stellar on half-dozen or so units to start – from 50 TB to 100 TB each – with an Oracle RAC 12c benchmark using Excelero providing the fastest tablespace creation time of any storage hardware platform CMA has ever tested. Administration is easy, and the time-savings just continue as we scale.”

CMA customers include hospitals and healthcare providers. Users of CMA’s hosted MicroTerabyte solution and its on-demand Dynamic Analytics Platform (DAP)® database as a service (DBaaS) offering can benefit from NVMesh, it said.

HPE servers and storage

In the earnings call following HPE's first fiscal 2018 quarter results, CEO Antonio Neri said: "In compute, revenue grew 11 per cent year-over-year, driven by growth in core ISS, high performance computer, hyper-converged and Synergy.

"In storage, revenue grew 24 per cent year-over-year, driven by the Nimble acquisition and improved 3PAR performance. As planned, we are seeing the positive impact from go-to-market changes we have laid, particularly in the United States."

The storage revenues included the acquired Nimble business. Putting that aside: "our organic storage grew 11 per cent," with 3PAR featuring strongly.

CFO Tom Stonesifer said, "We saw continued momentum in our value businesses with high performance compute growing low double-digits and Synergy up over 40 per cent sequentially. Growth in hyper-converged with SimpliVity continued at over 200 per cent year-over-year.

"... 3PAR returned to growth driven by significantly improved performance in the Americas as we saw the benefit from the go-to-market and leadership changes we made last quarter. We also saw strong double-digit growth in Big Data storage, which has been a growth driver over the last five quarters. All-flash arrays grew 16 per cent year-over-year. We also expect to take back some share in total external disk."

Reg Comment

The 24 per cent storage growth must be welcome. Compared to much higher growth rates in Dell EMC, NetApp and Pure's all-flash array businesses that 16 per cent looks weak.

HyperGrid has high hopes from funding infusion

HyperGrid picked up $15m in B-round funding this month, with the round led by Acero Capital and contributions from Atlantic Bridge Capital and other investors.

Its first round of funding as HyperGrid came in May 2016, with cash from GGV Capital, Atlantic Bridge and Acero Capital. The round came as HyperGrid came into being as the renamed GridStore.

GridStore was founded in 2009 to develop a Hyper-V-based hyper-converged infrastructure appliance system. It bought DCHQ in July 2016, and renamed itself HyperGrid. It then moved away from the hardware appliance and offered HCI as a service in the form of HyperCloud, using DCHQ tech.

HyperCloud supports workloads in Azure as well as VMware or KVM-based products whether on-premises or in a public cloud. It is said to deliver a single view of all resources across on-premises datacenters, private and public clouds, and is sold to/through MSPs.

GridStore took in a $1.5m seed round in 2010, a $12.5m A-round in 2012, and $11m in a 2014 B-round. There was a further $19m in early 2016, when Nariman Teymourian became chairman, then the firm was renamed HyperGrid, Teymourian became the CEO, and it slurped up a further $9m A-round.

The investors must think Teymourian and HyperGrid are doing well, certainly well enough to get them to dig into their wallets again. With this month's latest $15m, the combined GridStore/HyperGrid entity has taken in $68m.

This latest round comes after what HyperGrid describes as an exceptional 2017 and it will use the cash to develop its HyperCloud product, new described as enterprise Cloud-as-a-Service offering, and in go-to-market activities.

Rubrik racing towards IPO

Rubrik has hired a CFO experienced in the IPO process.

The data protection and management startup said it was approaching the $100m run rate a year ago, after 18 months of selling. The company has now passed the 800 employee mark, a 3x increase year-over-year. It claims it grew its global customer base by more than four times over the past fiscal year, though we have no insight into the original customer numbers.

Its total funding is more than $292m. In August it was valued at $1.3bn and is likely higher now.

There are three new hires:

  • Murray Demo as CFO, coming from Atlassian,
  • Bertrand Yansouni as VP Worldwide Channels,
  • Martin Brown as Director West EMEA, coming from Dell EMC.

Demo was at the financial helm of Oz devops favourite Atlassian when it IPO'd in December 2015 for $462mn, and spent the next two years there when it was publicly owned.

Yansouni comes from Google, where he was VP for Global Partner Sales and Strategic Alliances in the Google Cloud business. He was at Cloudera before that.

Microsoft chairman and Rubrik investor John Thompson has been appointed to the Rubrik board – another mark of company maturity.

CEO and co-founder Bipul Sinha says Rubrik is in the data protection and hybrid cloud data management business: “In the next four years, we’ll create new technologies and solutions to help companies not only manage, but do more with that data. Bringing John W. Thompson’s expertise and relationships and Murray Demo’s financial acumen sets Rubrik on a solid foundation to accelerate our growth.”

Reg Comment

The revenue barrier to cross for an IPO used to be regarded as the $100m level.

We reckon an IPO is in the company's sights and it wants a blockbuster one, with shares rising after the process instead of falling. So it needs to show a clear road to profitability and look for a multi-billion dollar valuation. When? Early to mid-2019 ... maybe.

Sphere 3D selling Overland Storage for $45m

The chairman and CEO of Sphere 3D is selling the Overland Storage business unit for $45m.

The background may seem somewhat unusual however.

Tape business Tandberg Data was bought by Eric Kelly-led tape and disk storage vendor Overland Storage in November 2013 for $42m.

Cyrus Capital Partners was Tandberg’s owner and a major Overland investor, and had been encouraging the deal for several months.

Overland Storage, CEO'd by Eric Kelly, merged with/was acquired by Sphere 3D, chaired by Eric Kelly, in December 2014 for c$81m.

Peter Tassiopoulos was Sphere 3D's CEO, but became president after the merger with Kelly.

With this latest transaction, Sphere 3D will sell Overland Storage to Silicon Valley Technology Partners LLC, an entity set up and controlled by Eric Kelly. The price is $45m, subject to working capital adjustments, and SVTP has to raise the cash from private investors.

The board of directors of Sphere 3D "unanimously (with Mr. Kelly recused from the deliberations and voting) approved the transaction".

If and when the deal completes, Sphere 3D will use the cash to pay off its debts.

The loss of value is hardly surprising as the combined Overland/Sphere3D has made GAAP net losses every quarter since 2010.

A Sphere 3D investor, Cyrus Capital Partners, has been agitating for strategic changes at seemingly perennially loss-making Sphere 3D.

Eric Kelly released a statement which said: "The virtualization and [Overland] businesses will become more precise through dedicated tactics that will continue to fortify the continuum of our efforts over the past year and beyond."

The continuum of our efforts to understand this statement certainly needs fortifying.

Sphere 3D is left with the SNAP NAS and its virtualisation business. Why Silicon Valley Technology Partners wants to buy Overland and what it will do with it is unclear. Perhaps it will be sold on.

Shorts

ATTO Technology announced illumos support for 32Gbit/s and 16Gbit/s Celerity Fibre Channel host bus adapters (HBAs). The illumos project is a fully open community one to develop a reliable and scalable operating system derived from OpenSolaris.

High-end storage array supplier INFINIDAT doubled its EMEA revenue in 2017 from 2016.

Kaseya Unified Backup, powered by Unitrends MSP, provides backup, ransomware detection, and cloud-based business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) services in a single appliance-based platform.

Hyper-converged infrastructure vendor Pivot 3 is partnering with Zerto for DR across its product range. It's supporting VMware's VDI product, VMware Horizon 7. And Redington Value, an EMEA distributor, is offering Pivot3 with Splunk to support enterprise IT security and analytics use cases.

All-flash array supplier Tintri has announced Tintri Centralized Upgrade, a new management capability that enables customers to deploy centralised and automated upgrades of multiple Tintri storage systems across data centres with no disruptions.

Virtual Instruments' involved application-centric infrastructure performance management (IPM) has announced WorkloadWisdom, an enhanced and rebranded version of its Load DynamiX Enterprise storage performance validation product. There is a new 25GbitE Workload Generator and SMB support, and this new platform reportedly delivers a five to 10 times improvement in results reporting over the previous version, particularly for larger scale test environments, the vendor claims. ®




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