Infinidat Unveils $150M Funding, Intros Advanced Unified Storage Solution


Infinidat, a startup storage company whose team developed EMC's Symmetrix and IBM's XIV enterprise storage solutions, has turned the spotlight on itself with the introduction of a massive round of funding and the introduction of a new storage architecture.

Infinidat on Wednesday said it has received a new $150 million round of funding, bringing total funding in the company to $230 million and giving it an estimated valuation of $1.2 billion.

The company, based in Needham, Mass. and Herzliya, Israel, also officially unveiled its new InfiniBox storage system, a solution that company Chief Technology Officer Brian Carmody called the first to offer unified block, file, object and mainframe storage.

[Related: Hitachi Data Systems Brings Enterprise Storage To Midrange, Expands Converged Infrastructure]

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Infinidat brings to the market a pedigree seldom seen in the storage industry. Founder and CEO Moshe Yanai in the 1980s managed the development of what eventually became EMC's flagship Symmetrix, and now VMAX, line of storage arrays. After leaving EMC, he founded XIV, which IBM acquired in 2008. That company's technology now forms the backbone of IBM's enterprise XIV storage family.

The first solution developed by Infinidat, the InfiniBox, is a high-density, high-performance, low-power-consumption storage system that costs less on a per-gigabyte basis than other enterprise-class storage, Carmody told CRN.

The InfiniBox offers over 750,000 IOPS performance, with more than 12 GBs per second of throughput, Carmody said. And it does so with seven nines, or 99.99999 percent, up time, which translates to less than 3 seconds of planned or unplanned downtime per year.

"We do this out of the box," he said. "We roll it into the customer's premises, turn it on, and it never stops serving data."

The InfiniBox scales from a starting configuration of 250 TBs to up to 2 petabytes of capacity in a standard 42U rack, Carmody said. "And to be clear, this is guaranteed usable capacity," he said. "There's no need for dedupe or compression to get this capacity."

The initial version of the InfiniBox is shipping with block storage capabilities, Carmody said. Software to manage both file-based storage and mainframe computer ECKD and FICON storage are in beta testing, and are expected to be available later this year. Object storage capability is slated to be released next year, he said.

"These will all be nondisruptive software upgrades at no charge," he said. "The hardware is read for all the new protocols."

Also included in the InfiniBox is the Cinder storage protocol for OpenStack clouds, a VMware vCenter plug-in, and several management protocols including a RESTful API and cross-platform command line interface, Carmody said. "This is a 2-petabyte bucket of storage you can carve out as you like," he said.

However, the InfiniBox uses only 4 Watts of power per usable terabyte, which is well under half the power consumption of traditional disk storage systems, Carmody said. For 2 petabytes of storage, power consumption is only 8 kilowatts.

Pricing is disruptive by design, Carmody said. "It's about $1 per usable gigabyte," he said. "That includes all the software enabled. Everything is turned on."

The InfiniBox is giving a glimpse of the future of the storage industry, said Steve Drew, president of CAS Severn, a Laurel, Md.-based solution provider and early partner of Infinidat.

"It is an enterprise-class, multi-petabyte, scalable storage solution," Drew told CRN. "Storage has been like an Erector set in terms of how capabilities are added. Infinidat can solve all the requirements with higher resiliency and higher availability, but at a lower price point."

Jakob Carstensen, infrastructure consultant at CAS Severn, told CRN that he is not surprised to see the level of performance and availability that Infinidat has brought to the InfiniBox.

"I was at IBM, and was close to the XIV team when it was acquired by IBM," Carstensen said. "A lot of the Infinidat team was there with XIV. Yanai invented Symmetrix for EMC. When people have that kind of background, you pay attention to it."

The InfiniBox has a lot of the kind of features that were missing in the original XIV offering, Carstensen said. "I think IBM made a mistake in not betting more on XIV," he said. "It could have been the dominant array. I have never been so excited with a storage solution than I am now with Infinidat."

Carmody said the InfiniBox architecture is a unique differentiator in the storage market.

The front end of the InfiniBox is three server nodes based on Dell server hardware, all of which are active and which have paths to every drive in the solution, he said.

The channel is an integral part of Infinidat's sales plans, Carmody said.

While sales so far both in North America and worldwide have typically been done direct as a way to build reference accounts, the company assumes that all systems sold will be via a partner, he said. "Only if customers insist on working direct will we do so," he said.

Infinidat has more than 100 petabytes of capacity in its lab to prove reliability and to test server nodes, Carmody said. Every system sold is burned in in the lab for one month before being shipped to the customer, he said.