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Funding and Acquisitions: Maxta, Inktank and Greenbytes

Funding and Acquisitions: Maxta, Inktank and Greenbytes

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Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen news on funding and acquisitions.

Maxta Inc

At the beginning of May Maxta Inc announced a “B” round of funding totalling $25 million from Tenaya Capital, Intel Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.  I’ve talked about this company before, but as a bit of background, Maxta’s MxSP (Maxta Storage Platform) is a distributed scale-out storage solution, similar in some respects to VMware’s VSAN or EMC’s ScaleIO.  During one of my recent trips to Silicon Valley, I caught up with Amar Rao (VP, OEM Sales & Business Development) and Kiran Sreenivasamurthy (Director, Product Management & Marketing) for a deep dive and discussion on some of the features of their technology.  I’ll cover MxSP in more detail in a future post (currently its in the lab under evaluation), however I would say at this point that what I’ve seen of MxSP is that is offers more features and flexibility than VSAN, making it a compelling and more interesting solution for delivering scale out storage.


Inktank Storage Inc is the driving company behind Ceph, an open-source distributed scale-out storage platform.  Ceph provides block, object and file support, however in my view is far from being in a position to gain widespread commercial acceptance as the software still has a science project feel about it.  Inktank provides the commercial support for Ceph and revealed in a discussion at the end of last year that they had only around 50 customers.  Red Hat has now acquired Inktank to strengthen their storage portfolio, which currently consists of GlusterFS, branded as the Red Hat Storage Server.  Gluster is simply a distributed file storage software platform that relies on the underlying attributes of the filesystem storing the data to track items such as metadata.  The aim of the Gluster project was to create something simple and so the platform has no support for block-based storage or objects.

Ceph can be used by Red Hat to provide a more balanced portfolio for their enterprise offerings, especially as they build out their own flavour of OpenStack.  Perhaps with the backing of Red Hat, Ceph stands more of a chance against the competition (some of which I have already listed above).  There are certainly interesting features in the product and I’d be interested to see it reach the point of being more easily deployable.


On 15 May Oracle Corporation announced they were acquiring Greenbytes, a vendor of virtualisation software for VDI solutions.  Despite having reviewed Greenbytes’ products a number of times, I always found it difficult to understand what they were offering, what their differentiation was and consequently how they were different in a market that offered both hardware and software solutions for VDI.  Perhaps customers felt the same.  Last September (2013) Greenbytes’ CEO, Steve O’Donnell apparently resigned to return to the UK, which was reported by The Register, but doesn’t appear as a company press release.  In a press release in December 2013, Bob Petrocelli had been elevated from CTO to CEO without any fanfare.

Oracle typically doesn’t buy companies at a premium and that leads to assumptions that Greenbytes was a distressed purchase.  At this stage we have no idea whether this is true or not, but the chances are the technology will disappear into the Oracle portfolio never to be seen again.

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Copyright (c) 2009-2014 – Chris M Evans, first published on http://blog.architecting.it, do not reproduce without permission.

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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