SimpliVity – 23 Months in, $1B And Growing

Fun news in the Hyperconverged Infrastructure space today: SimpliVity has announced both a $175million Series D funding round and an over $1B valuation. I was fortunate enough to join the company just after last year’s $58 million round and am thrilled to be here as we surpass $276 Million in total funding to help drive our hyper-growth. We’ve grown 130% from last year, to 400+ employees and are anticipating/planning on being around the 800 people mark by the end of the year. This current round of funding will put us well on the way of funding this major expansion.

The funding and valuation make a of couple points. First: Hyperconverged Infrastructure is a very real, and very massive market. A report from Gartner estimates that, by 2018, there will be $18B spent annually on integrated systems, of which Hyperconverged Infrastructure is a significant portion. And, depending on which research firm’s religion you subscribe to, the total addressable market is somewhere between $100B and $400B.

Second: investors believe in SimpliVity. It started out (as all young companies do) with investors believing in a vision and leadership. Well, that got us through the first couple of rounds. 9 months after the OmniCube went GA, investors started seeing the fruits and wanted to be a part of the first wave of expansion. This brought us through the C round. Now that another year has gone by, something interesting happened. Waypoint Capital began as a SimpliVity customer, seeking to simplify their datacenters and provide global management, backup and disaster recovery on a single platform. Only SimpliVity could supply this, and currently 100% of Waypoint’s IT across 5 datacenters runs on OmniStack. They were so impressed that they were compelled to lead a new round of funding, along with some previous investors. We’ve grown from funding solely by investors who buy into the vision to investors who not only believe in the vision, but whose own infrastructures have been transformed by SimpliVity’s Hyperconverged Infrastructure.

For perspective on the valuation, SimpliVity has reached the $1B mark after only 23 months of shipping product. Let that sink in. Under 2 years, making it one of the fastest growing infrastructure companies in IT, ever. We’re taking that as a hefty vote of confidence.

One of the unheralded aspects of SimpliVity is the global footprint strategy: full North America and EMEA availability, sales, and support from day one. Most companies will start in North America and spread slowly into different international regions. Since release, more than 50% of sales have been outside of the U.S., and in 2014, we expanded with resellers in 50 countries and employees in 18.

I’m excited to be a part of SimpliVity and am proud of the market and investor validations from vision to results. Don’t just take it from me, take if from our customers.

Virtualization Field Day 4 – Austin, I am IN you!


I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to be a part of a group of IT folks that have been able to take part in a Tech Field Day, a series of industry events bringing together technology purveyors, community influencers, analysts, enthusiasts, tweeter folk and grey beards (none of these are mutually exclusive of the others). It’s a place that brings new vendors with exciting visions of technology and old vendors with shiny newness, both of which provide an exciting look at the ever changing landscape of enterprise IT.

Besides my general fondness of Stephen Foskett (and his glorious peanut brittle) and Tom Hollingsworth, I’m excited to be a part of the event from the vendor perspective, getting to attend with my friends Jesse St. Laurent and Brian Knudtson from SimpliVity to give delegates (and viewers) a deeper look into how we do Hyperconverged Infrastructure and what’s possible when you do deduplication and compression in real time in-line.

But where the real action takes place is the delegates. The industry folks (admins, engineers, bloggers, analysts, friends) that come to these Field Days are the linchpin to its success and to its enjoyment. Most of the people going I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a while and meeting in person previously, and some I’ve only interacted with online and am thrilled to finally meet in person.

Amit Panchal @AmitPanchal76
Amy Manley @WyrdGirl
Christopher Kusek @cxi
Emad Younis @Emad_Younis
James Green @JDGreen
Jeff Wilson @Agnostic_Node1
Julian Wood @Julian_Wood
Justin Warren @JPWarren
Larry Smith @MrLESmithJr
Marco Broeken @MBroeken
Matt Simmons @StandaloneSA
Mike Preston @MWPreston

This current event (Virtualization Field Day 4) will be held in Austin, TX January 14-16 and focuses on technologies and people that enable and push the virtualized datacenter forward. You can follow along with the events with the live stream on the TFD site and on twitter with the #VFD4 hashtag.

SimpliVity as Visionary – Just Getting Warmed Up

First off, congrats to SimpliVity and other vendors for being included on Gartner’s inaugural Converged Infrastructure (no?) Integrated Systems Magic Quadrant (MQ)! The report not only further validates this direction for infrastructure and the importance of convergence, but also highlights the breadth of scope within this space.

Reading over the report, they used a very broad definition for Integrated Systems (read more about that at Ron Singler’s blog here), which in turn lead to them not using the term ‘converged infrastructure’. The graphic depicts Gartner’s basic qualification for inclusion in the Integrated Systems category:


This resulted in the inclusion of everything from broad workload systems (VCE, SimpliVity, etc.) to workload specific systems like Oracle Exadata and Teradata. Equally interesting, however, was the exclusion of Pivot3, Scale, UCS, VSAN, Maxta, Atlantis ILIO, EMC ScaleIO,  etc.

If you look at Gartner’s Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria section (p.s. you can download the report here), you will see that they specifically excluded software-only solutions and most ‘Server SANs’ which require customer based installations and layering and only included systems that fully integrated storage (which is why no UCS without Netapp). But just because you fall into Gartner’s definition does not mean you make it into the report (e.g. Pivot3, Scale). What does this mean for vendors in the current report that will go to a software based model in the future? Or those that may OEM their software only solution to hardware vendors? Not sure, but Gartner can certainly change their criteria at their choosing.

It’s a fascinating space with explosive growth that leads to the necessity of including vendors both new and old. Note that SimpliVity had only been GA for 5 months when the data for this report was gathered. I can’t think of such a young company being this far in the Visionary quadrant, save perhaps Amazon Web Services, and even then, they had a running start (more on that over at Gabe Chapman’s blog).

What does this mean for SimpliVity? We’re certainly not taking a ‘we’re just glad to be here’ stance. It’s great affirmation of our trajectory and we’re just getting warmed up.

Let’s Simplify Things

Over the past few decades, many technologies have come into the datacenter to increase both the quality and number of services. Some of these have been to solve direct technical problems (WAN acceleration), some have been to solve capacity and utilization problems (deduplication, virtualization, SAN/NAS), and some to solve ‘keep the business alive’ problems (backup, BC/DR, etc.). With each of these solutions came another box to consume more space, more power, more cooling, more money, and on and on. On top of the physical ‘mores’ is the ‘complexity more’. More software. More management consoles. More throats. Though, these silos of infrastructure did bring less of a few things: less productivity, less agility, less flexibility, etc.

Enter convergence. At the base of it, convergence is about simplicity and efficiency.  As Stu Miniman said, “Customers, however, are not looking to buy “convergence””, they’re looking to solve the problems of complexity, inefficiency and inflexibility. And not just solve them for one application, silo or data set, but to solve them at scale.

A number of vendors come straight to mind when talking about convergence, but one thing that’s certain is that this a change in how the business of the datacenter is done. As we know, change is not always met with open arms within an industry. As Andre Leibovici pointed out in his linking to an article about a change in an industry: “disruption will always be challenged by standards”

Traditionally, datacenter projects include deploying a storage product, a backup product, a replication product, a compute product and a virtualization product, often taking a number of days to a number of weeks to implement. Enough. Let’s change this. Let’s simplify.

For this reason, I’m excited to join an amazing team (Gabriel Chapman, Ron Singler, Dave Robertson, Mario Brum, etc.) at SimpliVity. Their take on hyperconvergence is, I feel, the most complete to date and their efficiency and simplicity of collapsing silos of datacenter technologies is refreshing. I’m excited about integrating more than just storage, compute and a hypervisor in a platform, but also fine grained policy based backup, deduplication, compression, wan optimization, replication and more in a building block architecture with one management console.

I’m extremely grateful to my friends at Computex for the opportunity to work with them helping customers along the virtualization path and I look forward to continuing conversations about simplifying datacenters. Let’s do it.


TL:DR – I’m joining SimpliVity: yay :-)