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Simplivity Gets $25 Million from its Dream Team

It’s over the moon because Kleiner Perkins casts a special aura over all its investments

SimpliVity, the hyper-convergence start-up that came out of stealth mode a month ago right before VMWorld with a simple-to-manage software- defined Data Center-in-a-Box, has gotten a $25 million B round led by chi- chi Kleiner Perkins.

Its A round investors Accel Partners and Charles River Ventures kicked in too.

SimpliVity calls the VCs its “investor dream team.” It’s over the moon because Kleiner, backer of Amazon, Google and other moneymakers, is the top VC in the valley and casts a special aura over its investments created by the levers it knows how to pull.

The start-up’s gonna use the money – it’s been operating on an initial $18 million – “to fuel its global go-to-market activities as it prepares for a rapid growth year in 2013.”

CEO Doron Kempel claims that the heady customer demand that followed it launch proves “the market is starved for a solution like OmniCube” and that the start-up has to “prepare for imminent hyper-growth.” He’s reportedly working on the processes SimpliVity will need to meet that growth next year.

Marketing VP Tom Grave says the experience is unlike any he’s had.

The company expected at best to make contact with 10% of the 21,000 (mostly) end users at this year’s VMWorld. Instead its booth was visited by 5,000 people. It gave hundreds of demos and had thousands of “quality discussions.” Solid leads are flooding in from the “contact me” page on SimpliVity web site, he said, and the company has to put off the curious and ready-to-deal until late November when it’ll emerge from beta and be ready to go into production.

Grave says would-be customers are perfectly willing to wait for any kinks to be ironed out of the system.

The OmniCube is supposed to leapfrog the other convergence players. It’s supposed to be the first product to achieve the promise of a multi-functional, truly converged, IT infrastructure platform, enabling customers to radically simplify their IT environment and dramatically reduce costs.

It’s an Intel-based 2U rack-mounted IT infrastructure building block that delivers the functionality of more than 10 products for the virtual machine environment – all at a two-three times cheaper price than it would cost to buy and operate the commodity parts in the OmniCube separately.

The trick is in its OmniStack software and the fact that it’s build on the company’s fine-grain deduplication and compression that speeds the data around nodes, data centers, geographies and the public cloud.

The management and mobility of data in these very small data sets enables the assimilation of OmniCube’s core functionality – data mobility, resource sharing, intelligent caching, scalability and high availability – into a single platform. As a result, OmniCube claims to supplant the functionality of numerous traditional independent products.

Two or more OmniCube systems, which sell for $55,000 apiece, are deployed together to form an OmniCube Global Federation, a massively scalable pool of shared resources managed globally from a single interface by a lone VMware admin. It’s supposed to resolve the complexity issue that haunts the data center, particularly in the middle market.

The Taneja Group has been following the hyper-convergence set and says its research found that “despite similar messages from vendors, not all HyperConvergence offerings are created equal. We are starting to look at two metrics: Scope of Functionality on one axis and Degree of Efficiency along the other. On that basis SimpliVity’s OmniCube stands tall, in our view.”

Scope of Functionality is self-explanatory. Degree of Efficiency measures of the amount of compute resources (processors, memory, flash, SSD and HDD) required to deliver the functionality for a given workload. Offerings that merely bundle disparate products together without improving resource utilization score low on this metric.

SimpliVity found that comparison clever and has adopted it.

It gets its inspiration from the white box mentality of Google and Amazon, which “have opened our eyes to the fact that IT Infrastructure TCO can be lower if we use commodity hardware to power potent, multi-functional software architecture.”

It says the big vendors that are putting out nominally convergent stuff like vBlock, Matrix, vStart, Puresystems and Flexpod can’t share resources the way OmniCube can and so they’re overkill. The legacy vendors need a new architecture but are unlikely to ever do that because of cannibalization. Nutanix, another start-up, has raised $71 million to prove its point. SimpliVity expects to bury it.

OmniCube, meanwhile, provides compute, storage and networking in a package with virtualization, WAN optimization, unified global management, seamless cloud integration, primary storage deduplication, backup deduplication, caching and global scale out.

The widgetry will go through the channel to target mid-size companies. SimpliVity has lined up a reseller in central Europe. It’s reportedly getting calls from big resellers in Japan.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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