Seattle-based Qumulo Raises $40M for Modern Data Storage
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interviews with potential customers before bringing a product to market, and continues a tight focus on customer feedback today. The company ships a new version of its product every two weeks, incorporating feedback and feature requests from customers. “The right way to do it is to as quickly as possible lock yourself in to really tight iteration with people that have a problem that needs to be solved, and use that interaction as a way to precision-guide the trajectory of the company to building something people care about,” Godman says.
Qumulo—a name Godman and his co-founders Neal Fachan and Aaron Passey came up with in about 30 minutes—is a riff on the Latin cumulo, meaning stack or heap. It’s an apt metaphor for storage. It also refers to cumulonimbus clouds.
A group of customers has been using Qumulo’s software for about six months and one customer has been using it in production for more than a year, Godman says. The network-attached storage market is more than a $10 billion sub-segment of the broader $65 billion enterprise storage market, and has traditionally been dominated by the likes of EMC and NetApp, he says.
Qumulo fits into a category Godman calls intelligent infrastructure, forming part of the foundation for what Madrona’s McIlwain describes as an emerging “dataware” technology stack. This is a combination of technologies—many of them being built by startups in Seattle—that enable things like context-aware consumer apps and real-time business analytics.
This category of IT infrastructure for large organizations is a relatively new thing in Seattle.
“I don’t think we had as strong a case to make as a market for enterprise infrastructure technologies” until the rise of Isilon and F5 Networks, as well as work Microsoft has done in the last 15 years and, more recently Amazon, with AWS, McIlwain says.
Now, with next-generation businesses like Qumulo, Igneous Systems, and ExtraHop being built by people who gained expertise in the previous wave of companies, as well as the continued work of established players—EMC has a major Seattle presence thanks to continued growth here after the Isilon acquisition—this infrastructure category is gaining momentum. “That’s a really exciting development,” McIlwain says.
If Qumulo has one challenge, it’s breaking through the noise and hype in the data storage industry, McIlwain says. “There’s a lot of people in storage that make claims and I think there is a much smaller set of companies that actually can deliver on their claims,” he says. “We’re highly confident that Qumulo is already delivering on their claims.”
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