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Infinidat decloaks, bulging with a BILLION greenbacks

Moshe Yanai’s latest storage upstart unicorn bares its horn

Symmetrix inventor and serial startup whiz Moshe Yanai has another startup exiting stealth; Inifinidat, which has a funding round and high-enough VC valuation for it to be a unicorn.

Infinidata was started up in 2010 by ex-XIV vets with Yanai as a board member and, we’d guess, angel investor. It is kind of re-inventing XIV, both hardware and software. Its staff, who are in the hundreds, have filed a bunch of patents, moire than ninety of them.

Unicorns are storage startups with a billion dollar-plus valuation and Infinidat has joined that club.

It has spread news of a second funding round led by TPG Growth that totals $150m. This takes its total funding to $230m, and its valuation to $1.2bn. This implies the VCs are ecstatic about its prospects. It has also raked in $80m before this B-round, which is serious coin.

Yanai’s canned quote said: “Infinidat is on the verge of revolutionizing the enterprise storage market with a dramatically simpler, more cost-effective storage solution offering unparalleled performance, capacity, and reliability. The Infinibox storage solution has already been customer-proven and is in production in multiple Fortune 500 companies around the world.”

The Infinidat IZBOx G300 filer is described here, and we learn it delivers SAN, file and object storage in parallel: “All three technologies are supported at every level, including the GUI which presents a unified control panel.”

We think there has to be a single low-level, block-level access layer with file and object and maybe SAN, layered on top.

Anyway, Infinidat’s box has seven “nines” uptime through a self-healing architecture, double-parity RAID and “comprehensive end-to-end data verification.” We understand it can have as much as 1.2TB of DRAM cache and up to 48TB of secondary NAND cache per controller, implying a clustered design to us. That gives it “ over 750k IOPS” which doesn’t sound so much to us here at El Reg. It also has a claimed disruptive price point, possibly down to $200,000, which we take to mean disruptive against VMAX-type arrays.

We asked about capacity scaling and Infindat said: "The Infinidat system is architected to scale based upon the density of the disks that are put into the system. Right now our systems ship with 2PB usable in a single rack from 480 x 6TB drives. ... We expect the drive density to improve over time and we will scale accordingly. Nothing in the Architecture limits us..."

Tom Milliken of TPG Growth said: “Infinidat is one of the true innovators in the space that will change the way data is stored in the future.”

ESG analyst Mark Peters was equally on-message: “Infinidat delivers the benefits of software-defined storage with provable commodity hardware, and without compromising availability. Combining that with a compelling, sensible and economically-attractive hybrid mix of solid state and hard disk drives, and a panoply of advanced functions should lead to strong user interest for Infinidat.”

An Israeli media outlet (in Hebrew) reports Infinidat has already sold tens of systems which look after 10PB of files to customers, including one in Shenzhen and Tricor. There is a partnership agreement with VMware and Yanai himself provided $60m in funding.

Infinidat has a US presence, and has signed distie Channelfusion in the UK. It is looking to add UK resellers. You can see the box at IPEXPO Manchester (UK) May 20-21.

Comment: A worry

This is a disk drive array and surely, long-term, disk drive arrays are the new tap libraries and will not store fast-access data or, eventually, near-line data either. Enterprise on-premise arrays will go all-flash; that is what analysts such as the people at Wikibon are saying.

A second worry is that hyper-converged systems are attacking the idea of a networked storage array being necessary at all.

A third worry is that on-premises data is going to the cloud.

Is XIV done right a horse-and-cart re-invention in the age of the motor car? Infinidat a shot too far by the Yanai-istas?

If it succeeds in displacing VMAX, DS8000 and VSP will it then find the data its arrays hold is flooding out to flash and the cloud? Hey, the VCs are putting in $150m and they’re smart guys. Moshe Yanai has a brain the size of a planet and me, one the size of a gnat. What do I know? ®

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