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Think Big. Move Fast.

In the age of “big data”, enterprises will need to contend not only the sheer volume of data they generate (ranging from hundreds to thousands of terabytes), but also to manage the velocity and variety of these new data streams. (1) To put these numbers in perspective, imagine each enterprise storing and analyzing data equivalent to the volume of information cataloged by the US Library of Congress every year! (2)

Recognizing that this explosion of storage growth cannot be managed by legacy infrastructure, both investors and storage vendors are betting on flash memory as the technology to keep pace with the growing data challenges faced by enterprises.  Incumbents EMC and IBM have recently made strategic acquisitions in all-flash storage companies XtremIO and Texas Memory Systems to augment their legacy storage solutions. Meanwhile startups Pure Storage and Nutanix have raised large rounds of growth financing, further validating that investors are also bullish on the flash storage trend.

We at Lightspeed were early believers in the disruptive power of flash memory in next-generation storage systems. (3)  The decreasing cost of flash memory driven by widespread adoption in consumer devices, coupled with data access and retrieval times 10-100x faster than rotating disk, and a power and physical footprint 10 times smaller than disk well positioned flash to be the transformative storage technology in the datacenter.  Our early investments in component technologies (Link-a-Media, Pliant Technology, Fusion-io), systems companies (XtremIO), and software technologies (IO Turbine) centered around flash memory have validated that hypothesis.

To better understand the role of flash memory and its impact on performance, capacity, energy usage, and cost in next-generation storage systems, I invite you to join me at the Future of Data Storage event on September 18 in San Francisco.  Hosted by BTIG and moderated by Andrew Reichman, principal analyst with Forrester Research covering infrastructure and storage technologies, the event will bring together five leading companies focused on driving innovation around data storage in the enterprise:

  • Nimble Storage is creating hybrid storage systems that converge primary storage, backup storage, and data protection technology in a single appliance.
  • Nutanix is creating converged storage and compute appliances that allow enterprises to build Google-like, scale-out datacenters
  • Pure Storage is creating all-flash enterprise storage arrays focused on delivering high performance at cost effective price points.
  • Tintri is creating storage systems optimized for virtual machines, improving the manageability and cost-effectiveness of virtualized workloads.
  • Virident is creating PCIe flash accelerator cards that allow frequently used data to sit closer to the CPU in servers.

As we look toward the future, startups will continue to innovate around flash memory, creating next-generation storage systems stitched together with intelligent software to disrupt existing markets based on disk architectures.

If you are interested in joining us at the event please email eventRSVP@lsvp.com along with your name and contact information.  Webcasting will also be available.

I look forward to exploring these trends further during the Future of Data Storage event from the lens of five emerging startups – hope to see you there!

(1)    McKinsey Global Institute Report “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity”

(2)    Library of Congress Website, January 2012 Data: As of January 2012, the Library has collected about 285 terabytes of web archive data growing at a rate of about 5 terabytes per month.

(3)    http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/13/lightspeed-ventures-positions-for-the-new-age-of-data-with-investments-in-storage-space/

 

Follow us on twitter at @lightspeedvp for more information on the future of storage and events like these.

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Over the past two years we’ve seen a lot of disruption in the enterprise storage market with everything from the game-changing performance of flash to next-generation storage architectures required to support the cloud and virtualized data center environments

And notwithstanding some early wins from companies like Fusion-io, we believe the underlying data center compute,  storage and networking transformation is still in early innings of playing out.  A case in point is Nutanix, a company worth paying attention to and one where we recently led an oversubscribed growth round of financing.

So why are we so excited about Nutanix? We believe the company represents the next-generation of IT infrastructure – a CONVERGED storage and compute platform uniquely able to cost-effectively power the datacenters of today and tomorrow.

Nutanix combines enterprise-class compute and storage resources into a single, inexpensive x86 system. It also incorporates elastic scale-out technologies that have historically only been available to some of the world’s largest, and most technically sophisticated companies like Google and Facebook.  Now, for the first time, this revolutionary computing paradigm is being delivered to mid-range and large enterprises that are also looking to ride the disruptive economic wave afforded by cloud computing and large-scale virtualization.

The Nutanix magic is in its’ software which is highly sophisticated and delivers the world’s first SDS (Software-defined Storage system), similar to Nicira, also a LIghtspeed portfolio company, which built the world’s first SDN (Software Defined Network system).   The combination of SDS, inexpensive compute, and a radically simplified appliance form factor which is easy to deploy and manage has customers excited and highly engaged.  They are calling Nutanix Complete the world’s first “datacenter in a box.”

Beyond the technology, we have been hugely impressed by the team at Nutanix. We’ve had the privilege of working with them from the earliest days of the company when Lightspeed originally lead the Series A financing more than two and half years ago. The founders came to us with an extremely bold vision to redefine datacenter storage and computing and we’re incredibly excited to see how emphatically the market is now embracing this vision.

If you found this post useful, follow me at @rmtacct and follow Lightspeed at @lightspeedvp on Twitter.

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