EMC buys ExtremeIO

Wow, $430M for a $25M startup that’s been around since 2009 and hasn’t generated any revenue yet.  It probably compares well against Facebook’s recent $1B acquisition of Instagram but still it seems a bit much.

It certainly signals a significant ongoing interest in flash storage in whatever form that takes. Currently EMC offers PCIe flash storage (VFCache), SSD options in VMAX and VNX, and has plans for a shared flash cache array (project: Thunder).  An all-flash storage array makes a lot of sense if you believe this represents an architecture that can grab market share in storage.

I have talked with ExtremeIO in the past but they were pretty stealthy then (and still are as far as I can tell). Not much details about their product architecture, specs on performance, interfaces or anything substantive. The only thing they told me then was that they were in the flash array storage business.

In a presentation to SNIA’s BOD last summer I said that the storage industry is in revolution.  When a 20 or so device system can generate ~250K or more IO/second with a single controller, simple interfaces, and solid state drives, we are no longer in Kansas anymore.

Can a million IO storage system be far behind.

It seems to me, that doing enterprise storage performance has gotten much easier over the last few years.  Now that doesn’t mean enterprise storage reliability, availability or features but just getting to that level of performance before took 1000s of disk drives and racks of equipment.  Today, you can almost do it in a 2U enclosure and that’s without breaking a sweat.

Well that seems to be the problem, with a gaggle of startups, all vying after SSD storage in one form or another the market is starting to take notice.  Maybe EMC felt that it was a good time to enter the market with their own branded product, they seem to already have all the other bases covered.

Their website mentions that ExtremeIO was a load balanced, deduplicated clustered storage system with enterprise class services (this could mean anything). Nonetheless, a deduplicating, clustered SSD storage system built out of commodity servers could define at least 3 other SSD startups I have recently talked with and a bunch I haven’t talked with in awhile.

Why EMC decided that ExtremeIO was the one to buy is somewhat a mystery.  There was some mention of an advanced data protection scheme for the flash storage but no real details.

Nonetheless, enterprise SSD storage services with relatively low valuation and potential to disrupt enterprise storage might be something to invest in.  Certainly EMC felt so.


Comments, anyone know anything more about ExtremeIO?