The 10 Coolest Storage Startups Of 2016 (So Far)

Many Roads, Many Destinations

If the first half of 2016 is any indication, investor interest in storage startups is continuing unabated as a never-ending stream of new companies look for innovative ways to better manage customers' growing data stores.

Not all these startups will succeed. But every once in a while, one might show the kind of innovation or marketing savvy to truly stand out with enough customer and channel partner interest to one day become a legacy vendor.

Take a look at 10 independent storage developers that either came out of stealth or introduced their first solutions in the first half of 2016.

For more on the "coolest" of 2016, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review."


CEO: Najaf Husain

Cloudistics is a startup in the fast-growing hyper-converged infrastructure business. The Reston, Va.-based company in June came out of stealth with news that it had closed a $15 million Series A round of funding led by Bain Capital Ventures.

Cloudistics is the developer of the Adaptive Overlay Network, or AON, software-defined virtual network technology that virtualizes both the network and storage layers with a promise to allow full-line network performance at 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps. The technology takes advantage of Cloudistics' Elastic Flash Storage, a federated virtualized storage architecture that is optimized for flash and that scales independently of compute and networking resources.

Symbolic IO

CEO: Brian Ignomirello

Symbolic IO, Holmdel, N.J., in May came out of stealth with the unveiling of IRIS (Intensified RAM Intelligent Server), a server-based storage solution that handles computational, archiving and high-density storage. The actual data is not stored in the IRIS devices themselves. Instead, data is brought into the solution in a proprietary format in real time and cannot be read by any users not on the system. The company claims it can offer performance up to 10,000 times that of flash storage.

IRIS is expected to be in general availability late in the fourth quarter of 2016.


CEO: Gene Banman

DriveScale, Sunnyvale, Calif., in May exited stealth mode and unveiled a new scale-out infrastructure that converges compute and storage into industry-standard rack servers. The solution is designed to let customers dynamically adjust compute and storage infrastructure to handle changing application and business needs while optimizing resource allocation without the need to overprovision those resources.

DriveScale automatically discovers available physical data center resources from a rack-scale architecture consisting of pools of industry-standard servers and disk storage. The pool can be disaggregated into separate pools of compute and storage resources and reassembled into logical clusters and software-defined physical nodes as needed.

DriveScale's investors include Ingrasys Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn.

E8 Storage

CEO: Zivan Ori

Israel has had more than its fair share of storage startups, and Tel Aviv-based E8 Storage continues the tradition. E8 Storage came out of stealth in May and said it had received $12 million in a B round of funding.

E8 Storage is developing software-defined NVMe-based storage solutions that will leverage NVMe flash storage for high-performance applications. The company's flash storage solution includes a rack-scale architecture for enterprise and software-defined cloud customers, and is expected to deliver 10 times the performance for half the cost of existing storage products using off-the-shelf hardware.


CEO: Jeff Chou

Diamanti, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of turnkey networking and storage appliances for Linux containers, in April exited stealth mode with $12.5 million in Series A funding and a promise to build appliances for container-based storage. The company in June unveiled support for the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform powered by Kubernetes orchestration and Docker-formatted Linux containers. The new solution targets developers looking to build modern, containerized applications ready for production environments and to deploy applications to perform at scale.

Diamanti's turnkey appliance works via the open-source Kubernetes project to integrate with the Red Hat developer workflow so that users can specify their container networks, define storage volumes and deploy applications throughout their life cycles.


CEO: Amir Aharoni

Herzliya, Israel-based Elastifile develops technology for software-defined, all-flash storage. The company's solution allows commodity servers to be configured as scale-out all-flash primary storage arrays supporting distributed block, file and object storage.

Elastifile this year unveiled a funding round worth $15 million, with Cisco Systems counted as one of its investors.

Datos IO

CEO: Tarun Thakur

San Jose, Calif.-based Datos IO is a startup developer of scale-out data protection software. Data IO's software allows databases to be backed up at any interval and at any granularity. The backups are incremental forever and maintained in native formats.

The company promises high-performance recovery of lost data for business and test/dev purposes. The technology can be deployed on a virtual or physical machine or on a cloud instance in Microsoft, Amazon or Google environments. Pricing is based on data capacity.


CEO: Marc Fleischmann

Datera in April emerged from stealth to debut its Datera Elastic Data Fabric storage technology for enterprise and service provider cloud systems. April also saw the company unveil a $40 million round of funding.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said that its scale-out storage software turns standard commodity hardware into a RESTful API-driven, policy-based storage fabric for large-scale cloud systems. The software features multitenancy capabilities and offers an all-flash design for high performance. The company is particularly focused on applications in DevOps environments.


CEO: Alex Grossman

Los Angeles-based Simply in April exited stealth mode with the introduction of new high-performance RAID and Thunderbolt storage devices targeting the storage requirements of media and creative professionals.

The company's SymplyStor desktop RAID delivers high-performance, easy-to-use storage for 4K and HD video production, and supports configurations in a choice of SSD or hard drives with total capacity of up to 64 TB. It supports Thunderbolt 2 for throughput of 20 Gbps, and Thunderbolt 3 for throughput of 40 Gbps. The company also introduced SymplyPro, which provides facility-level collaboration for large workgroups, optimized for 4K and 8K, with scale to 1 petabyte of shared storage.


CEO: Brian Biles

Datrium, which came out of stealth late last year, in January unveiled its first solution, the Datrium DVX, which separates flash and disk storage by tying large amounts of SSDs in a server to a separate hard disk-based appliance as a way to get maximum application performance.

The Datrium DVX software works on any server certified to run VMware software. The servers can be configured with any processor or SSD. Channel partners load the software on the server and then connect it to the NetShelf disk appliance. Each NetShelf is configured with 48 TB of raw capacity, or up to 180 TB of effective capacity after deduplication and compression, and can connect to up to 32 server hosts, with the addition of extra servers causing performance to increase.