Qumulo lands $40M to bring order to messy data center storage

You can add another startup to the growing list of software-defined storage startups getting some love from investors in recent month. Seattle-based Qumulo plans to announce on Wednesday that it took in a $40 million series B investment round, which brings the stealth startup’s total funding to $67 million.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) drove the funding round along with previous investors Highland Capital, Madrona Venture Group and Valhalla Partners. KPCB partner Wen Hsie and Madrona Venture Group’s managing director Matt McIlwain are taking a seat on the startup’s board along with Sujal Patel, the founder of the storage company Isilon Systems.

Qumulo’s executive team is comprised of several ex-Isilon head honchos who took the storage company public in 2006. After the executives left Isilon in 2008, EMC ended up acquiring the company in 2010 for $2.25 billion.

In 2012, the former Isilon co-workers — which includes Qumulo CEO Peter Godman, CTO Aaron Passey and vice president of engineering Neal Fachan — decided they wanted to start another storage company, but they found that the enterprise-storage landscape had changed over the years since their time spent developing the technology behind Isilon Systems, explained Godman in an interview.

Whereas Isilon Systems was created to help solve problems associated with storage scalability, in which organizations purchase and piece together storage hardware in their infrastructure on an as-needed basis, the Qumulo team learned through market research that enterprises were now having problems managing all that data, and many companies were not even aware of how exactly their data was being stored.

Qumulo Founders

Qumulo Founders

The organizations that Qumulo talked to did not know how to track what users were accessing particular pieces of data, which data was not being regularly used, nor what data should be deleted. With this information, the Qumulo felt the best way to deal with this dilemma was through software that could get a read on an organization’s storage infrastructure and help users understand how their data is being used, all in the name of better storage efficiency.

“We started building a next-generation scale-out file system that operates excitingly well,” said Godman. “It tells people what they need to know about their data.”

Godman, citing that the startup is still in stealth, wouldn’t elaborate on the details of how the company’s new file system works or how users install it and get it running in their data centers, but he said that the company used its last funding round to build the product and now has a stable of customers that’s been actively using it.