SimpliVity Touts High Growth, Especially Via Cisco Partners

Doron Kempel

Hyper-converged infrastructure startup SimpliVity Monday said its business, especially sales of its software on the Cisco UCS server platform, has grown significantly over the past year.

That growth, and an expected IPO sometime in the future, led to its hiring of a couple of executives to fill key roles as the company also invests heavily in expanding its workforce, said Doron Kempel, CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based vendor.

SimpliVity, which already has raised $276 million in venture funding, is very much in growth mode, Kempel told CRN. Bookings in the second quarter of 2015 were up 250 percent over last year, while customer growth was up 380 percent during that time. The company now has about 550 customers who have deployed more than 2,000 systems, said Kempel, who will be featured in a keynote interview at the upcoming Best of Breed 2015 Conference, hosted by CRN publisher The Channel Company.

[Related: Hyper-Converged Startup SimpliVity Parts Ways With Top Sales Exec, CEO Taking Over His Role]

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SimpliVity also is on a hiring spree, bringing on up to 10 new people, including engineers and sales executives, each week, Kempel said. He expects the company to have 800 employees by year-end.

A big part of that growth stems from SimpliVity's relationship with Cisco to make the technology behind its OmniCube hyper-converged infrastructure appliance available to customers and channel partners with Cisco-focused data center infrastructures.

The combined SimpliVity OmniStack Integrated Solution with Cisco UCS combines SimpliVity's OmniStack software and its proprietary hardware card with Cisco UCS rack-mount servers for Cisco solution providers and customers.

Together, the solution provides the same combined hypervisor, server, storage, networking, backup, replication, cloud gateway, caching and deduplication capabilities as SimpliVity's own OmniCube appliance.

The Cisco relationship, under which Cisco channel partners can add the SimpliVity software and a proprietary card to Cisco UCS servers for clients instead of selling the integrated SimpliVity hardware appliance, is growing strong, Kempel said.

SimpliVity has sold "hundreds" of solutions for the Cisco UCS platform already, and such sales already account for about 20 percent of all SimpliVity solutions sold, he said.

"We are very much focused on our relationship with Cisco," he said. "It's a positive shadow for us."

The Cisco partnership is also positive from a financial perspective, Kempel said. "When we sell our solution with Cisco, we don't include the hardware," he said. "Just our software with our card. They are very high-margin deals."

SimpliVity also confirmed an earlier CRN report that the company had made a number of executive changes.

"As the company prepares for 2016, and much larger stakes with our Cisco partnership and beyond, we decided to enhance our internal architecture for future opportunities including a potential IPO," Kempel said. "This includes reinforcement to our operations."

That reinforcement includes the hiring of two new executives.

They include Jose Almandoz, the former CIO of Novell, who joined SimpliVity earlier this month as senior vice president of "planning and into action," a role focused on company operations, Kempel said. Also new is Randi Nichols, a veteran human resources executive who last month joined SimpliVity as vice president of human resources.

Kempel also confirmed that Mitch Breen, senior vice president of global sales, has left SimpliVity and is now "exploring other opportunities."

Kempel told CRN he will take over Breen's duties on a permanent basis.

"We're adding significant weight to the company in the back office," he said. "This frees me to add more attention to go-to-market."

Several SimpliVity partners told CRN they were unaware of the management changes. One partner told CRN under condition of anonymity that he is bullish on SimpliVity's future no matter who is handling sales.

"Doron Kempel runs a tight ship. SimpliVity is doing very well from my point of view. I have had great success thus far selling and implementing SimpliVity," the solution provider said.

KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN contributed to this story.