Gridstore Raises Millions for Software Defined Storage

Posted on October 16, 2012 By Sean Michael Kerner

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The data storage explosion in enterprises large and small is a persistent challenge that needs to be solved. It's a challenge that storage vendor Gridstore is solving with a "grow as needed," Software Defined Storage approach.

It's a business that is also growing and is now going to be fueled by an additional $12.5 million of Series A financing. Gridstore CEO Kelly Murphy told InfoStor that he has raised $15 million since the company's founding.

The funds will help him to continue to push the company's scale-out storage approach deeper into the market. Kelly explained that big web properties like Google and Facebook have long had a scale-out approach to storage. In the scale-out approach, new nodes are simply added on to existing storage to create increasingly larger pool of capacity.

That scale-out type of approach to storage has not been as easily available to mid-sized enterprise customer that have needed to buy fixed arrays from storage vendors. In the Gridstore approach, new storage appliance nodes of varying capacity are simply added to the network, expanding the available addressable storage capacity.

"To end users, it just looks like a network share," Kelly said. "Except that Gridstore is a lot faster."

The way the system works is that there is a virtual controller that distributes the storage in a striped manner across all the available nodes. Striping has long been a common practice in RAID setups where bits are spread across multiple drives in an effort to provide better resiliency.

Gridstore isn't using traditional RAID, though. Kelly explained that his company is using a technology known as erasure coding, which is a striping of data with even better fault tolerance than RAID.

"RAID only protects at the disk level," Kelly said. "With erasure coding, there is a compute requirement and we apply the coding at the point the data is originating and that gives you protection from disk, network and node failures."

In Kelly's view, Gridstore's scale-out storage approach provides a Software Defined Storage network for enterprises.

"We virtualize everything on the storage devices and we virtualize the network and the controller," Kelly said. "The controller defines how you get access and what you get access to. So everything becomes defined by that piece of software."

Now with new money in hand and a strong technology underpinning, the key challenge for Kelly is to scale-out in the market. He's working on building out the sales and distribution channel to get the message out to those that can benefit from scale-out storage.

"We've proven we can sell this quickly and cost effectively," Kelly said. "This is targeted at the mid-size company that is still going out and buying storage arrays."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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