SOURCE: DriveScale


May 19, 2016 07:30 ET

DriveScale Secures $15 Million to Deliver First Enterprise Rack Scale Infrastructure Platform

Pelion Venture Partners, Nautilus Venture Partners and Foxconn's Ingrasys Invest in DriveScale; Company Founders Include Elite Server and Storage Veterans Responsible for Multibillion-Dollar Data Center Product Lines for Sun and Cisco

SUNNYVALE, CA--(Marketwired - May 19, 2016) - DriveScale, the company that is pioneering flexible, scale-out computing for the enterprise using standard servers and commodity storage, today emerged from a three-year stealth development effort and announced $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Pelion Venture Partners with participation from Nautilus Venture Partners and Foxconn's Ingrasys. Carl Ledbetter, Managing Director at Pelion Venture Partners, and Connie Sheng, Founding Managing Director at Nautilus Venture Partners, join the Board of Directors as the first outside members, and the company named Scott McNealy, James Gosling, Phil Roussey and Ameet Patel as advisors.

"We believe the big data market, which is already strong, will accelerate as data analytics and IoT applications become ever more important. We know the technical problems that have to be solved to serve enterprise customers running production code in large infrastructure environments are profoundly difficult, so we wanted to find the strongest possible team, one with a world-class track record," said Carl Ledbetter, Managing Partner at Pelion Venture Partners. "Pelion was looking for the right technical and market approach in this area and the DriveScale architecture delivered the most flexible, highest performance and most robust system we found. When DriveScale showed us their product concept we knew we had a winning opportunity with the strongest team in the industry."

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Scaling Hadoop and Big Data Workloads
Today, standard rack servers are the status quo in scale-out infrastructure. However, this equipment was not originally designed for big data processing platforms such as Hadoop and massively parallel computing environments.

Leveraging the DriveScale team's decades of experience in data center infrastructure design -- including the invention of several multibillion-dollar data center products, such as the Cisco UCS product line and Sun's UltraSparc workstations and workgroup servers -- its founders created a platform that provides enterprise companies with scale-out architecture previously only found in hyperscale organizations with practically limitless budgets such as Google or Facebook. By creating an architecture that is more flexible than the traditional scale-out data center (see today's product announcement), IT administrators and operators looking at their organization's data can make adjustments as they go, without hitting the common roadblocks found with standard commodity server assets.

"DriveScale first interested us because they clearly understood one of our core requirements, namely the desire to manage CPU and storage resources as separate pools. Unfortunately, storage and server technology upgrades move on two different timetables. Without a solution like DriveScale's, we are forced into storage refresh cycles that aren't strictly necessary and are very cumbersome," said Timothy Smith, SVP of Technical Operations at AppNexus. "Separating storage from compute allows us to upgrade or reallocate compute resources independent of storage. DriveScale significantly decreases the operations workload, as a result increasing the velocity of delivering new products and features to our customer base. We think that DriveScale is a promising solution that will also help us reduce wasted resources trapped in siloed clusters and thus contribute directly to our bottom line."

DriveScale Goes to Market with Foxconn's Ingrasys
In related news today (see announcement), Ingrasys, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer, announced a strategic partnership with DriveScale. Ingrasys has co-developed the DriveScale product line and is the company's hardware equipment manufacturer. 

"With so many players in the big data space, it's great to find a company that is truly going to innovate in the data center infrastructure," said Connie Sheng, Founding Managing Director at Nautilus Venture Partners. "With the support of Foxconn, DriveScale's impressive team has proven that they have the experience and the technology to address Hadoop and big data platform flexibility problems."

"The time is right for a disaggregated rack scale architecture. The state of the art in ethernet switch fabrics enables wire-speed connection of pools of commodity CPU and storage resources under software control, with no loss in performance. The market opportunity for flexible scale-out infrastructure for enterprises is enormous," said Gene Banman, CEO at DriveScale. "The whole computer industry is moving our way. It's just a matter of time."

Supporting Quotes:

Amr Awadallah, Cofounder and CTO of Cloudera, Inc.: "The Apache Hadoop ecosystem has fundamentally changed how enterprises store, process and extract business value out of their data. We see its popularity and adoption skyrocketing across many industries. That said, certain IT administrators don't like the tight coupling that Hadoop introduces between the storage and compute layers, making it hard to scale and manage them independently. DriveScale has taken a huge step forward with its scale-out architecture that allows administrators to flexibly and dynamically provision the storage capacity independently of the compute capacity without introducing network bottlenecks."

James Gosling, Chief Software Architect at Liquid Robotics, and Creator of Java: "I love the flexibility that DriveScale gives those of us with private data centers. Whether because of shifting applications or dynamic loads, DriveScale enables rewiring a rack without touching a physical wire -- all on the fly with no downtime."

Mani Raman, Technical Architect at DST Systems: "We engaged with DriveScale because it gives us the ability to do scale-out easily using commodity hardware. With their platform, we can address compute and storage needs independently and will be able to buy and scale these assets separately in the future. The DriveScale solution will help us use our hardware assets more efficiently. As we build out our offerings to include more and varied analytics, this capability becomes very important to us."

Scott Gnau, CTO at Hortonworks: "Rapid adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise is driving more requirements for flexible system configuration. More innovation in infrastructure will benefit the entire industry."

About DriveScale
DriveScale is leading the charge in bringing hyperscale computing capabilities to mainstream enterprises. Its composable data center architecture transforms rigid data centers into flexible and responsive scale-out deployments. Using DriveScale, data center administrators can deploy independent pools of commodity compute and storage resources, automatically discover available assets, and combine and recombine these resources as needed. The solution is provided via a set of on-premises and SaaS tools that coordinate between multiple levels of infrastructure. With DriveScale, companies can more easily support Hadoop deployments of any size as well as other modern application workloads. DriveScale is founded by a team with deep roots in IT architecture and that has built enterprise-class systems such as Cisco UCS and Sun UltraSparc. Based in Sunnyvale, California, the company was founded in 2013. Investors include Pelion Venture Partners, Nautilus Venture Partners and Ingrasys, a wholly owned subsidiary of Foxconn. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @DriveScale_Inc.

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