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Last round, folks: Dell 'n' pals pull out wallets as Nexenta preps for IPO

Inks connected car deal... but with WHICH firm?

Nexenta is clearly keen to be top dog of the software-defined storage world. After reportedly experiencing 100 per cent year-on-year growth from 2013 to 2014, Nexenta says it is gearing up for an IPO in the next 18 months or so – with channel and geographic expansion and a final funding round coming.

Nexenta says it has reached the 6,000 customer level and has 1,000 channel partners, quadruple the number that existed when Tarkan Maner became CEO 14 months ago.

It also says it has won a deal with an unnamed "global vehicle manufacturer" to provide the software file and block storage platform underneath its Hadoop repository for data from the auto-maker's connected cars around the globe.

A NexentaStor-to-Hadoop connector is being developed and this will provide the foundation for a product, which will be announced later this year. That will then enable Nexenta storage software to be applicable to file (NAS), block, object and HDFS environments.

Nexenta is talking to Micron, which has developed an enterprise focus with a team led by Darren Thomas. Micron aims to customise its flash component products for what it calls "enterprise solutions" providers and has an in-house software development team to make its flash products more usable by such providers.

Seagate and IBM, with the latest FlashSystem, have both emerged as Micron collaboration partners in this effort.

One can easily envisage a Micron software layer interfacing to Nexenta's software to enable it to use Micron 2D, 3D and MLC/TLC NAND in – say – PCIe and SSD form factors and also, possibly, in storage memory form.

Nexenta is also talking to SanDisk.

Maner is convinced OpenStack is real. Of Nexenta's 6,000 customers, he says 2,000 are using either CloudStack or OpenStack. According to Maner, the CloudStack users are migrating to OpenStack.

For a comparison point, DataCore has 10,000 customers.

Nexenta's main competitors are EMC and NetApp. Maner acknowledges both DataCore and FalconStor as fellow software-only storage suppliers.

In customer count terms, DataCore is ahead of Nexenta. If Maner's momentum can propel Nexenta past DataCore, that would be significant growth and surely put Nexenta on the top rung of the software-only storage suppliers' ladder.

All the previous investors, including Dell, are contributing to Nexenta's final round. We wonder what the valuation is going to be. ®

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