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.

Citrix snaps up Sanbolic to ease desktop virtualization

Citrix, which has led the charge for desktop virtualization, just acquired Sanbolic to help bleed out the complexity and cost that have kept virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) from broader adoption. Terms were not announced.

Desktop virtualization separates what runs on a computer desktop from the physical computer itself so management, updates and patches can be more easily accomplished by a central administrator.

[company]Sanbolic[/company], of Waltham, Mass., specializes in software defined storage which works with a wide array of existing storage hardware.  It was already a close Citrix partner; [company]Citrix[/company] said 200 of its existing XenDesktop XenApp customers already use Sanbolic in house to attain high-availability and to manage infrastructure across regions.

With Sanbolic in-house, [company]Citrix[/company] can develop pre-packaged and pre-tested solutions to “help drive down the cost and complexity of VDI and application delivery deployments in a linear and predictable manner,” Sanbolic CEO Momchil Michailov said via email. Sanbolic, he added, enables customers to keep using existing storage arrays and infrastructure whether on-premise or in the cloud, including appliances for [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services (AWS), [company]IBM[/company] Softlayer, [company]Rackspace[/company] and [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure.

Michailov, who becomes Citrix’s VP of storage technologies, and Sanbolic’s other 30 employees will move to Citrix, according to a spokeswoman.

Citrix has been the standard bearer for desktop virtualization but has seen increased competition from [company]VMware[/company], the leader in server virtualization, which has juiced its efforts in this area over the past few years. But, both virtualization vendors are seeing increased competition from other software companies, including platform providers which are doing more of their own virtualization work.

Primary Data brings Woz aboard and talks virtualized storage

Storage startup Primary Data is ready to demo its technology to potential customers looking to improve their existing data-center storage setup. The startup also said today that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is now Primary Data’s chief scientist; as part of Wozniak’s new gig, he will be helping the company build out its technology and advocate for the company as it courts clients.

How I learned to stop worrying and love commoditization

Technology entrepreneurs and investors alike have long regarded commoditization as a dark and dangerous force, a destroyer of high-margin businesses, to be avoided at all costs. An exciting new class of opportunity aims to eviscerate that dogma: the “commoditization accelerant.”