Complexity. If there’s one thing that most people agree with it’s that the world of enterprise IT will only get more complex in the years ahead. While the move away from monolithic infrastructures has certainly resulted in more flexibility and agility, it has also resulted in increasing complexity and a greater management overhead.

One of the areas that this is particularly acute is in the data storage space – traditional hardware storage, virtualized storage, cloud (public, private, hybrid and multi) are all part of a modern enterprise’s storage footprint – what is the average storage admin meant to do to make sense of all of that complexity?

That is where Komprise comes in – the company calls itself an intelligent data management vendor, but essentially what it does is provide a smart management fabric that spans the various different storage assets that an enterprise has. The Komprise mission is to radically simplify data management through intelligent automation.

And the Komprise vision seems to be resonating with customers. I spent some time talking with Komprise founder and COO, Krishna Subramanian, in the run up to Amazon Web Services annual re:Invent conference and she told me of the traction the company has enjoyed. Komprise apparently added 25 new enterprise customers last quarter, from a range of industries including government, education, healthcare, financial services and insurance. In addition, the company, still relatively young, has grown to 60 or so staff based in both Silicon Valley and Bangalore, with a European sales office for good measure.

I’ve spoken to Subramanian a couple of times in the past, but I was interested to hear how Komprise’s positioning has changed over recent times. As she told me, there are a few different value propositions that Komprise offers its customers:

  • An active archival paradigm whereby customers who don’t want to lift and shift applications to the cloud can intelligently put the right application data in the cloud and thence leverage file-based access to the cloud
  • Disaster recovery – offering customers the ability to keep a live DR copy in the cloud, but to be able to use that copy in situ, if the need arises
  • Allowing for lifecycle management across the many different types of storage that the various cloud providers offer
  • Intelligent throttling of data back from the cloud. As Subramanian pointed out, the cloud is cheap storage, but expensive retrieval and Komprise can manage and throttle that retrieval activity

Upping the AWS ante

Subramanian was quick to point out that the vast majority of her customers are using AWS in some form and, as such, it is important to Komprise to leverage the AWS goodness they bring. To this end, the company is today announcing that it has achieved advanced technology partner status within the AWS partner network. This status is both a recognition of the value that Komprise offers to AWS customers but, more importantly for Komprise’s growth, that AWS is going to invest in the relationship. This sort of status generally brings with it co-marketing and the very valuable chance for Komprise to get some time with AWS sales force to give them the tools to push the Komprise value proposition.

Says Subramanian of the status:

Our customers are managing more unstructured data with less by using Komprise to intelligently leverage the cloud for cold and secondary data and control ongoing cloud operational costs using our analytics-driven information lifecycle management capabilities. Komprise is pleased to have achieved Advanced Tier Technology Partner status in the AWS Partner Network for our ongoing commitment to working closely with AWS and supporting our customers on AWS.

On partnership risks

I wanted to quiz Subramanian on the risks of partnering with AWS. It isn’t a huge leap to suggest that data management is something that AWS should offer herself. She was quick to point out that storage is never a “one size fits all” situation – most of her customers have a mix between cloud and on-premises and many also want a data fabric to span more than one cloud. A platform that provides this sort of management and analysis across storage without locking a customer into any one cloud vendor is attractive.

This struck me as interesting and I put it to Subramanian that Komprise’s multi cloud story is stronger than its hybrid cloud one. This assessment is based on the fact that, for those customers all-in one single cloud vendor, but with a bit of hybrid thrown in, generally the cloud platforms provide enough tooling to do the job. But when you’re multi cloud, you really need an independent player. Subramanian disagreed with this assessment, pointing out that even those who are using just one cloud vendor, have a complex multi-vendor storage strategy covering NAS, object storage, tape and cloud assets.

I then asked Subramanian about her concerns about the traditional storage vendors, NetApp and DellEMC for example, and their data management ambitions. She pointed out that while many storage vendors are doing data management, they are so predominantly from their own platforms. It may be hybrid cloud, but they’re still locked in.

The other clouds

AWS isn’t the only vendor that Komprise plays with. They’re also working closely with Google and Subramanian told me that they’re also building a relationship with Microsoft and its Azure platform. As to where the market is headed, she feels that in the next year or two, the approach towards data management will be analytics driven, with intelligent data management being the norm – everything being driven thru analytics of the data itself. Key to where the market is headed suggests Subramanian, is to manage data at scale which required intelligent automation. Software needs to adapt and learn from a particular customer’s operating situation. given Komprise’s analytics driven background the company is heavily investing in that area.

MyPOV

I always enjoy catching up with Subramanian – Komprise is doing good things and driving value for its customers. I look forward to seeing what this added AWS love does for their market statistics.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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