June 27, 2011
I spent some time last week talking with Dave Wright, CEO of SolidFire at the Structure conference. SolidFire was formed by the founders of JungleDisk after they’d served out their earn out time post the acquisition of JungleDisk by Rackspace. Based on the credibility and track record of the founders – SolidFire rapidly secured over $10M in VC funding. So what does SolidFire do? They are building scale out storage systems, that provide high performance primary storage entirely based on solid state drives. It’s a smart play – SSD’s are getting significant air time for a couple of reasons, firstly the obvious performance edge they create over traditional spinning drives and secondly because of the move to solid state in the consumer space – in a typical “trickle up” approach, this growth of solid state at the consumer end is bubbling up into the business end of town.
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.
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 – watch this space.
Video embedded below.