ARCHITECHT Daily: Storage isn't dead, it just got a cloud makeover

Covering storage has never really been my thing, but it's hard not to notice when an industry goes th
ARCHITECHT Daily: Storage isn't dead, it just got a cloud makeover
By ARCHITECHT • Issue #53
Covering storage has never really been my thing, but it’s hard not to notice when an industry goes through the type of upheaval that enterprise storage has over the past couple years. Looking beyond huge deals like EMC merging with Dell, there’s also the the cratering stocks for former darlings such as Pure Storage and Nutanix. 
But storage, like servers, can never really die. It just got haircut and moved to the cloud, where everyone’s attention is and where their money is headed. At least, that’s my reading of the situation after seeing a handful of big storage funding rounds in the past couple days:
  • Snowflake Computing raises $100 million: Former Microsoft exec Bob Muglia’s data warehousing startup is founded on the economics of cloud computing, and stores data in Amazon S3. It appears to be on tear, and has now raised $205 million since it launched a few years ago.
  • Portworx raises $20 million: Portworx has built a storage system designed for containers, aggregating capacity across the cluster (and even network storage) to provide a persistent storage pool to support stateful services. The company has now raised more than $28 million, and also announced some large customer including GE Digital and Lufthansa.
  • Cohesity raises $90 million: Cohesity sells a scale-out hardware platform for federating “secondary storage,” and Bloomberg reports the company is now valued at $500 million. Its support for various cloud storage tiers, including cold storage services, might be the most valuable part in the end, though.
  • Qumulo raises $30 million: Qumulo sells a federated and intelligent file storage system for industries like media and life sciences that can run on the company’s flash appliances, but also across cloud storage. It has now raised $130 million.
Of course, not all storage will move to cloud. The Register reported on Tuesday about a stealth-mode vendor called Vexata that’s raised quite a bit of money and claims incredibly fast storage performance for its flash array. However, as the author notes:
If it can deliver on the claims above then we could be about to welcome the latest and greatest storage array to our shared storage world. If it can’t then there’ll be another headstone in the storage technology graveyard.

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Artificial intelligence
I am going to try very hard to only cover AI startups, however broadly defined, that are doing something very interesting or very valuable. Hopefully, I’ll be able to weed through the sea of marketing analytics, wardrobe specialists and bots to find the diamonds in the rough. Here are two:
The startup’s software, which is now GA, is earning high praise from early users. At some point, some security startup has to stand out from the crowd, right?
OK, this isn’t AI at all, but more like the inverse of it: Teachers are helping students think like a computer program without necessarily learning to code. Seems relevant to eventually learning CS, but also as we seek to build computers that think like us without being specifically programmed.
I believe this type of research—human-robot interaction, and general human-AI interaction—could have a meaningful impact on labor. Man and machine working together can boost productivity, accuracy and quality.
It might be smaller than we think in the years to come, if this paper from some Stanford CS students is any indication. Merit aside, I would just note that there are now a lot of open source tools at the disposal of schools and students, which is a really good thing.
Cloud and infrastructure
We can debate all day about whether VMware ever had a legitimate chance at a public cloud platform, but there’s no debate about how well it executed its strategy.  •  Share
It’s a bold plan, but it’s hard not to root for him to succeed. There are, of course, major technological and cultural hurdles in the way.
Two things stand out to me here: (1) the immense planning and resources that go into carrying out a simple task over the web, and (2) that among cloud providers, Google might be best suited to own the edge.  •  Share
AWS data center guru James Hamilton doesn’t blog often, but when he does it’s worth reading. This one is no exception, including the comments.
What a nice end-run around Docker’s tooling and logical first step toward using Kubernetes. 
The web and cloud giants are not done building data centers—probably not by a long shot. On Tuesday, we learned of two new ones in new geographic locales:
All things data
Game of War creator MZ has built a streaming service for open data, called Satori. Early work is around open data from cities, but the company has a commercial strategy as well. This is something to keep an eye on.
VC firm Data Collective is teaming up with synthetic biology organization SynBioBeta to form a fund called the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund. Data and machine learning are a big part of many biotech efforts, as Aaron Kimball, CTO of Zymergen (another DCVC portfolio company) explained to me recently.
MIT’s Probabilistic Computing Lab has developed a method for delivering “like” results in SQL queries, for questions that could benefit from seeing more results.
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