CloudByte eyes $25B global data storage market; how it is faring

CloudByte eyes $25B global data storage market; how it is faring

Bangalore and California-based CloudByte Inc., which offers data centre storage solution for cloud service providers and enterprises, is eyeing the $25-billion global storage market with its recently-launched ElastiStor product, according to a top executive of the company.

The company has so far bagged two large clients in India and is in talks with a few prospective clients outside India.

Last June, CloudByte raised  $2.1 million from Nexus Venture Partners and Kae Capital.

According to its founder and CEO Srivibhavan Balaram, CloudByte is yet to achieve operational breakeven, "It is important to note that for high technology companies, it takes at least 4-5 years to operationally break even," said Balaram.

However, CloudByte sees immense opportunity for its product ElastStor and will initially focus on the US and Asia Pacific markets. "The opportunity is global and it is not restricted towards any particular geography. Our immediate focus markets are the US and Asia Pacific. Our vision is to build the next-generation storage technology that enables intelligent, grid-like, software-defined storage, making it easier to afford, provision, and manage storage for thousands of applications in the new-age data centres," explained Balaram.

Set up in 2011 by Balaram, Umasankar Mukkara, Shailesh Bam, Felix Xavier and Sunil Navalgi, CloudByte is a next-generation storage product company headquartered in Campbell in the US, which has its engineering team in Bangalore. It claims that ElastiStor helps replace fragmented storage islands in data centres with a single extensible shared storage platform.

This capability allows customers to cut down their storage capex and operating expense, while lowering their management overhead, according to the firm.

ElastiStor claims it delivers guaranteed quality of service to every application within shared storage, eliminating the need for any dedicated physical storage. "It simplifies storage management with on-demand provisioning and reduces the storage footprint of our clients by about 80-90 per cent," Balaram said.

The trigger

"While virtualisation has made rapid strides on the server side, storage technology witnessed just incremental innovations in the past decade. While dealing with storage, you're still bound by the typical limitations of legacy solutions –lack of scalability and customisability, inelasticity, expensive proprietary hardware. We got together to bake advanced technologies of virtualisation and software-defined intelligence right into storage and address the limitations,"Balaram explained.

A software-only product, customers can either deploy ElastiStor by buying own hardware recommended by the company. Otherwise, CloudByte will partner with hardware providers to offer a complete solution to customers. Customers can either go for a subscriber licence or a perennial licence.

CloudByte is working through its milestones set last year and has not set any timeframe to raise the next round of funding. "When we hit these milestones, we will be looking for the next round. It would be inappropriate to reveal any target dates at this point," Balaram noted.

With a team of 40, CloudByte is looking to increase headcount this year. "Our co-founder Felix Xavier has moved to the US last month. He'll be gradually building out the team there and will focus on working closely with our customers over there. Our intent is to be a global company and we'll expand as customer base spreads across other geographies," said Balaram.

The company says the relatively longer evaluation cycle is one of its challenges."Like any other enterprise-focused technology startups, CloudByte faces relatively longer evaluation cycles and has to fight against the large incumbents who have a good sales/business relationship with customers, " he said.

CloudByte competes with established storage vendors as well as startups including SolidFire and Nextgenstorage.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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