Big news in the solid state drive world today sees SolidFire announcing a USD25M funding round. I’ve written about SolidFire previously and took the opportunity at Structure earlier this year to spend time talking to their founder and CEO, Dave Wright (see below). SolidFire is a company that aims to bring the performance of SSDs to the cloud, but at a price ticket close to traditional storage options.

SolidFire aims to deliver high-performance and high-efficiency primary storage for cloud service providers. Their SolidFire Element operating system combines a scale-out all-solid-state architecture with specific technologies that SolidFire believes will dramatically reduce power, cooling, and capacity consumption. The aim of SolidFire is to improve performance compared to spinning disks while providing price parity or even price benefits when compared to disk storage. This is the holy grail of solid state as the raw drives themselves command a price premium over disks. SolidFire creates these benefits through an architecture designed around compression and deduplication – bringing down the required space needed for a particular storage requirement and hence reducing the cost per GB. SolidFire is using industry standard hardware with a proprietary software layer built over the top.

To date SolidFire has raised $37M, a significant chunk of cask for a company whose product is still only in beta. As I said a few months ago, one question I had about the SolidFire offering was around threat from SSD manufacturers providing a software layer on top of their own products and thereby eating SolidFire’s lunch. Wright believes they’re building a complete storage system – marrying hardware with unique architecture and thereby providing a degree of security around what they do.

I’m not sure that I’m entirely convinced about that fact – SolidFire strikes me as a company that looks set to be acquired relatively soon by a large hardware manufacturer – it will be interesting to see what this big funding boost means for that prediction.

According to Charles Curran,investor Valhalla general partner, SolidFire have Early Access systems deployed with some of the world’s largest cloud service providers and the customer feedback has been excellent. He’s predicting that early entrant position will enable them to get in front of competiotors and stay in front. As expected CEO Wright is bullish saying “We have a very solid sales pipeline and we will be investing in our sales and marketing team to respond to customer interest and accelerate our growth”

Check out the video below. As I’ve said before, SSDs are seriously sexy, it will be interesting to see if SolidFire can really deliver upon their price promise.

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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