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Exagrid, Simplivity and Zadara: Storage slowdown? Not for us

Newbies boast of growth, quiet about actual numbers though

Comment Three storage startups claim they are still experiencing strong growth, even while mainstream vendors' revenue expansion remains disappointing.

And the reason? Well, if you asked these three, it could be as simple as better or more efficient technology.

Exagrid, the deduping backup-to-disk supplier, claims it has just experienced the strongest quarter ever in its history, growing bookings 24 per cent, and revenue 18 per cent over the same quarter a year ago.

Piling on the good news, Exagrid said this was its seventh consecutive quarter as both cash and P&L positive, following double-digit growth in 2014.

CEO Bill Andrews said: "ExaGrid continues to move up market into larger accounts ... [We have] always been strong in the mid-market to small enterprise, with customers that have tens to hundreds of terabytes of data, but [we are] now also doing a large amount of business with customers that have multiple hundreds of terabytes of data. This quarter, we booked a record number of new customer six-figure deals."

It's down to better technology, he claimed, meaning a fast ingest with no dedupe onto a hydration-free restore landing zone and great multi-node global dedupe. Gartner gave ExaGrid visionary status in its 2015 "Magic Quadrant for Deduplication Backup Target Appliances".

There's a way to go yet; ExaGrid has not yet appeared in the top 5 in IDC's Purpose-built Backup Appliance market statistics report. With growth like that, however, it might well force its way into a top-five ranking soon.

Hardware-assisted, hyperconverged and scale-out server+storage+networking system vendor Simplivity recently said its sales bookings had grown 50 per cent quarter over quarter. More than half of its sales continue to come from outside North America.

It claimed that it had signed its biggest customer deal ever this quarter, involving more than 200 OmniStack Integrated Solutions with Cisco UCS. We're told it has more than 630 employees, and has hired more than 150 of them within the past year, representing a 35 per cent growth year over year.

So far in 2015 it has also increased its global reseller footprint to more than 60 countries, expanded its employee base to 21 countries, and grown its network to 700 partners globally.

Zadara, which sells enterprise Storage-as-a-Service, a pay-as-you-grow box on your premises or a remote facility, claims that, from January 2013 to July 2015, it grew its overall customer base by a factor of 11.

Over the same time, it claimed ARPU rose by a factor of four and Zadara’s overall monthly recurring revenue grew more than 40-fold.

We don't know what the base numbers are, of course, so, being extreme, customers may have grown from one to 11. Let's not be that miserable though - instead we'll assume Zadara is doing very well indeed.

These three companies have arguably better technology than many if their competitors. For example, dedupe backup appliance market leader Data Domain has no global deduplication. Hyperconverged appliance vendors generally avoid proprietary hardware which, Simplivity said, gives it an advantage.

As for Zadara, it is virtually competing in a field of one with its overall technology and business model.

The storage market, seen through these three vendors' eyes, is bursting with opportunity. But that's the way with new technology - what was hard-to-pick, high-up fruit becomes low-hanging. There's a moral there. Carry on plucking. ®

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