Software Eats Storage

One of the holy grails in the storage market has been to deliver a piece of software that could eliminate the need for an external storage array.  The software would provide all the capabilities of an enterprise-class storage device, install on commodity servers alongside applications, eliminate the need for a storage network, and provide shared storage semantics, high availability, and scale-out. With Maxta, the search for such a holy grail ends here.

The external storage array and associated storage network have been a staple of enterprise computing for several decades.  Innovations in storage have been all about making the external storage array faster and more reliable.  Even with all the recent excitement of flash replacing spinning disk, the entire focus of the $30B storage market has been around incrementally improving the external array.   Incrementalism as opposed to (literally) thinking outside the box.

Maxta is announcing a revolutionary shift in storage.  Not only are storage arrays and networks eliminated, but, as a result, compute and storage are co-located.  This convergence keeps the application close to its data, improving performance, reliability, and simplicity.  A layer of software to replace a storage array sounds too good to be true, except Maxta has paying customers and production deployments, and has delivered several releases of their software prior to today’s announcement.

Maxta would not be possible without CEO Yoram Novick, who is a world-class expert in storage software and data center design.  Yoram holds 25 patents and was previously CEO of Topio, a successful storage company that was acquired by NTAP several years ago.  He’s a storage software genius, with a penchant for engineering design and feature completeness as opposed to fluffy marketing announcements and future promises.  He’s the real deal and a true storage geek at heart.

When I met Yoram several years ago, he came to us with the radical idea to build a software layer to change the storage landscape.  Leverage commodity components and put all the hard stuff in software.  Within minutes, we decided to invest and we haven’t looked back since.  We are thrilled to be working with Yoram and team as they use software to deliver one of the holy grails of the storage market.