Cloudian $94m funding round takes it past Scality

Cloudian bezel
Cloudian bezel

Cloudian has closed a $94m funding round, taking its total raised to $173m, more than competitor Scality’s $152m.

The two are the leading stand-alone object storage system suppliers, with their funding dwarfing that of Swiftstack’s $23.6m.

This Cloudian E-round had contributions from Digital Alpha, Fidelity Eight Roads, Goldman Sachs, INCJ, JPIC (Japan Post Investment Corporation), NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Inc. and WS Investments.

The round includes a $25 million investment from Digital Alpha that was first announced in February.

Cloudian says this is the largest single round to date for a distributed file systems and object storage provider. It will use the cash to to expand its worldwide sales and marketing efforts and increase its engineering team.

One of its engineering concerns could centre on the adoption of QLC (4bits/cell) flash technology, with SSDs using it becoming the first realistic alternative to disk drives for fast access object storage.

Cloudian HS4000 array

The latest Cloudian customers include public health agencies in the US and UK, two of the top five Formula One teams, a US national research lab, an online travel market leader, a top three pharmaceutical company, a top three global car maker, a top five European bank, an Ivy League university, and one of the world’s largest global engineering companies.

CEO Michael Tso placed the round in this context: “Cloudian’s unique architecture offers the limitless scalability, simplicity, and cloud integration needed to enable the next generation of computing driven by advances such as IoT and machine learning technologies.”

Investor Takayuki Inagawa, President and CEO of NTT DOCOMO Ventures, said: “Cloudian’s geo-distributed architecture creates a global fabric of storage assets that supports the next generation of connected devices.”

Comment; Cloudian is going for Global 2000 enterprise  customers and believes its combination of on-premises storage, with public cloud S3 backend tiering, gives it the scale and affordability needed by businesses facing data inputs from hundreds of thousands to millions of connected devices in the coming years.

A looming collision in the market is between secondary storage convergers, such as Cohesity, putting out the idea of a single, global secondary storage repository, and object storage players resolutely resistant to this idea, unless it’s their object storage that is the convergence technology.

We’ll venture the view that no object storage startup has yet had a successful IPO. Exits, such as those by Amplidata and  Bycast StorageGRID, have been via acquisition. 

Both Scality and Cloudian are well-funded and each have a large number of customers. Either one could be the first object storage startup to IPO. B&F