The 10 Coolest Storage Startups Of 2014 (So Far)

Storage Startups: Go Big, Or Go Away

The last couple of years have seen a continuing stream of storage startups hit the market, showing that innovation in the storage industry is alive and well.

However, not all will make it as stand-alone companies. Indeed, at least three companies that could have been on a list of cool storage startups never made it past their first product release before being acquired, including flash storage technology developer DSSD, acquired by EMC; disaster recovery technology Yuruware, acquired by Unitrends; and content-in-the-cloud developer Streem, acquired by Box.

For a look at 10 companies still pushing ahead as independent storage developers, turn the page.

CloudByte: Storage Cloud-In-A-Box

CEO: Felix Xavier

Campbell, Calif.-based CloudByte's ElastiStor operating system together with its 2U hardware appliance allows any size department or organization to deploy a cloud storage solution for all major virtualization and stack environments. That solution provides full enterprise storage and networking capabilities, and comes preconfigured with the environment needed to support the specified number of applications or virtual machines.

Software updates this year allow customers to better monitor their CloudByte ElastiStor environments, provision directly from VMware vCenter and do application-consistent snapshots for Microsoft SQL Server.

Exablox: Formalizes Channel Program

CEO: Doug Brockett

Exablox, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of on-premise storage arrays with cloud management capabilities for midrange customers, in May introduced its first official channel program as part of a move to expand its reach in the midsize customer storage market.

Exablox, which last year came out of stealth mode, offers the OneBlox scale-out storage appliance for midsize business customers, and the OneSystem management service for secure, multitenant cloud-based services. The Exablox OneBlox is a 2U appliance with eight drive bays that customers can fill with any hard drive or SSD. The Exablox OneBlox solution includes such storage capabilities as scale-out, deduplication, snapshots, failover, replication, ease-of-use, self-diagnosis and self-repair.

Infrascale: Gets $16.3M Funding, Acquires Eversync

CEO: Ken Shaw Jr.

Cloud-based data protection technology developer Infrascale in June closed a new round of funding just in time to acquire Eversync, which develops on-premise data protection appliances that interface with the cloud. That Series B round of funding, worth $16.3 million, brings the total investment in the company to about $24 million.

For El Segundo, Calif.-based Infrascale, which is already a profitable company, Eversync brings Linux and Unix support as well as VMware support. It also gives Infrascale its first optimized on-premise deduplication appliance, which can be used to restore a company's IT infrastructure either locally or in the cloud in case of a disaster.

Instart Logic: Intelligent Mobile Application Delivery

CEO: Manav Mital

Instart Logic, Mountain View, Calif., a developer of a software-defined approach application delivery in a mobile, multidevice world, focuses on adding performance, control and extensibility in delivering data to customers' mobile devices.

Instart Logic in May closed a Series C round of funding worth $26 million to fuel its continued growth. The company in June added technologies that provide cache optimization and which analyze the image of data to be streamed in order to determine how much of an image has to be initially loaded for a user to recognize it before streaming begins to cut the amount of data sent.

Kasah Technology: Compressing JPEGs To Free Storage Capacity

CEO: Makoto Nishiyama

New York-based Kasah Technology develops virtually lossless image compression technology as a way to significantly increase the efficiency of current storage and network systems. Kasah Compression passes a JPEG image file through a series of algorithms, resulting in a file up to seven times smaller than the original, to free up significant storage capacity.

Maginatics: NAS-As-A-Service Via The Cloud

CEO: Amarjit Gill

The Maginatics Cloud Storage Platform from Mountain View, Calif.-based Maginatics is a software-only storage platform designed for software-defined data centers and cloud providers.

The company's Elastic NAS solutions migrate workloads including CIFS or NFS applications, such as in-cloud shared storage, media archives, digital recordings or media batch rendering, along with their corresponding data sets, into the cloud without the need to modify the application or data set.

Maginatics also allows the replacement or consolidation of traditional NAS appliances to public, private or hybrid clouds, providing the option to deliver data as a "filer-on-demand" service while maintaining central control and management.

Nakivo: Data Protection For Virtual Machines

CEO: Bruce Talley

Nakivo Backup & Replication software from Campbell, Calif., provides virtual machine data protection for VMware environments. The application features live virtual machines running applications and databases, deduplication and compression to reduce the backup capacities, network acceleration to improve data transfer speeds, full granular recovery of virtual machines, cloud integration, and the ability to run backup and replication jobs as often as every minute.

Customers of Nakivo, which recently launched a series of new training and certification programs for channel partners, can use the software as part of a backup-as-a-service solution.

Nimboxx: Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Developer Exits Stealth

CEO: Rocky Bullock

Hyper-converged infrastructure developer Nimboxx in June exited stealth mode recently with $12 million in new funding and the release of its first appliance, combining storage, server, networking and virtualization technology.

Nimboxx, founded in 2012, targets midmarket MSPs with its 1U appliance containing a mix of flash and disk storage, and can generate 180,000 IOPS of performance. It is based on the Nimboxx Mesh Operating System, the company's software stack that includes server, storage, networking, security and virtualization hypervisor technology and installs on commodity server hardware. Customers can deploy a single unit, or scale both capacity and performance by clustering multiple nodes.

Storiant: 'Cold Storage' For Low-Cost Data Retention

CEO: Jeff Flowers

Boston-based Storiant, which until April was known as SageCloud, develops technology that it claims reduces the cost of storing petabytes of data by as much as 90 percent, letting customers store data securely behind an on-premise firewall for about 1 cent per GB per month.

Storiant's "cold storage" technology provides a low-cost way to handle tiering, archival, backup and compliance data with a single solution as a way to manage data growth and provide big data analytics. It does so with a combination of the ZFS file system running on custom-designed enclosures that feature low-cost desktop hard drives, along with the software to reduce drive activity.

Zadara : Enterprise Storage-As-A-Service

CEO: Nelson Nahum

Zadara provides enterprise storage as a service, delivering what the Irvine, Calif.-based company calls high-performance, highly available file and block storage on a pay-as-you-go model with predictable quality of service for both on-premise and service provider deployment.

Zadara's flagship offering, the software-defined Virtual Private Storage Array, delivers multitenant enterprise SAN and NAS technology for large-scale primary and secondary storage, and is designed to meet stringent service level agreements, even in public cloud deployments.

The company has partnerships with cloud and co-location providers, especially Amazon Web services and Microsoft Azure.