After 10 years, object storage investment continues and begins to bear significant fruit

Cleversafe’s recent impressive $55M funding round inspired me to look back at all the money that has gone into variations of object storage development.

It also begged the question, why does investment continue?

I’ve written before that object storage touches many facets of our daily lives without us ever knowing about it. Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure, cloud-based object stores, already host more than 10 trillion objects between them. Adrian Bridgewater’s recent article in The Register also supports object storage’s move into mainstream adoption.

It’s been a long time in coming.

Object storage has been in the market for at least 13 years. A quick scan of the products in the market and public funding shows that over $300 million has been invested to date. This doesn’t include the undisclosed development efforts of NetApp (StorageGrid), EMC (Centera, Atmos, ViPR), Hitachi (HCP), HP (OpenStack), Amazon (S3), Rackspace (OpenStack), Google (Google Cloud Storage), or Microsoft (Azure), which would easily push that total to over half a billion dollars.

13 years of object storage

Investment continues because object storage architecture is the best way to manage huge amounts of unstructured content through its lifecycle, as proven by the enormous cloud deployments, as well as the many large “private” deployments in existence. Object storage already delivers many of the promises of “software defined storage” because most incarnations allow the application and/or policies to drive its behavior. Object storage as a framework is increasingly encompassing other storage functionality as the storage market moves towards virtualization and automation.

It’s interesting to see a good idea evolving and taking hold. We’ll be talking more about object storage architecture in coming weeks as we delve into the subject of people data.

-Leo
@lleung

2 thoughts on “After 10 years, object storage investment continues and begins to bear significant fruit

  1. Well, what is interesting about Cleversafe’s D round funding of $55M is that this is a large round coming late to the table. The size of this round seems to suggest that some “Federal government agency” is interested in seeing that Cleversafe stays in business. Also, note that Nirvanix just announced that it is shuttering its service in 30 days. Nirvanix received around $70M in funding. Others in the graph that have recently had success in various funding rounds include Scality, Basho, Amplidata and Inktank.l Amplidata is rumored to be looking for a buyer, possibly Quantum, which participated in Amplidata’s recent D round. I agree that it certainly looks like there is no shortage of venture funding for object storage vendors.

    • Thanks for the comment, Tim. Clearly, customers are trying to solve a storage and management problem and the market (and financiers) have responded. “Plumbing” technologies like object storage don’t often get their due, so it will be interesting to see how the market continues to evolve. Cleversafe is interesting. I can think of more than a few three letter agencies that need to store internet-scale quantities of objects…

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