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Big Win For Object Storage: Cloudian Unveils $94M Funding Round

The funding round, which includes $25 million previously announced from an investor related to Cisco, is the biggest funding round unveiled by any object storage vendor, and is targeting growth in what is the fastest-growing part of the storage market.

Cloudian, a developer of distributed file systems and a leading developer of object storage technology, on Wednesday unveiled the raising of a new $94 million round of equity funding.

The new Series E round brings total funding in the San Mateo, Calif.-based storage technology developer to $173 million.

Not only does the new funding round exceed the total the company had raised prior to it, it is the biggest round of funding ever for an object storage developer, said Jon Toor, Cloudian's chief marketing officer.

[Related: The 20 Coolest Cloud Storage Vendors Of The 2018 Cloud 100]

"We're seeing big growth in object storage," Toor told CRN. "This investment is a sign of the times."

Part of the new $94 million round, a total of $25 million, was previously unveiled in February, Toor said. That investment came from Digital Alpha Advisors, which features Cisco as one of its partners.

Cloudian currently has close relationships with several major system vendors, Toor said.

The company works with Cisco to target its channel partners who then make separate purchases from the two vendors and integrate the solution in the field, he said. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has a reseller agreement with Cloudian. And Lenovo works with Cloudian on an OEM basis, he said.

With object storage, data is managed as object as opposed to more traditional blocks of data or as files. An object includes not only the data, but associated metadata and a unique identifier, making object storage more useful than file or block storage for managing unstructured data.

Distributed file systems and object storage is becoming a much bigger part of the storage market. Analyst firm Gartner in 2017 estimated that by 2021, over 80 percent of enterprise data will be stored in scale-out storage systems compared to about 30 percent in 2017.

The cloud object storage market is expected grow at a cumulative annual growth rate of 14 percent between 2017 and 2023 to reach about $6 billion, according to Pune, India-based research firm Market Research Future.

The total capacity stored as object storage is growing rapidly, and has been for years, Toor said.

"Customers want to rationalize their on-premises and cloud storage, and object storage is the way to go," he said. "We speak the language of the cloud. We integrate with the cloud right out of the box with a single user interface."

Cloudian already has multiple marquee customers for its object storage business, including Fox Media, WGBH, T-Mobile, and Motorola, Toor said. The company also has 120 channel partners in North America and about 100 in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions, he said.

About 70 percent of its business goes through indirect channel partners, up from about 50 percent last year, he said.

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