Petabytes ahoy! SwiftStack leaves crowded cheap-and-deep object storage field

Object storage supplier SwiftStack has laid off an undisclosed number of employees and is steering from commodity object storage to high-performance, petabyte scale applications.

SwiftStack issued a statement yesterday, as reported by The Register: “Today at SwiftStack we reorganized our sales, partner, and marketing teams to focus on areas where we are experiencing success, and unfortunately, some valued members of the company were affected.

“With this change, our product and engineering team is boosted with additional resources that allow us to go after these new opportunities while continuing to support our existing customers as they evolve and become more data-driven. With this adjustment, SwiftStack is in a position for continued success and growth going into the new calendar year with our customers and partners.”

We asked SwiftStack about its new direction. Answers below.

Blocks & Files: It appears SwiftStack is withdrawing from areas where it is not having success. Which are they? 

SwiftStack: Selling object storage into centralized IT use cases has become very competitive over the last year. For uses such as object storage as-a-service, long-term backup repositories, tape replacement, and others, all of the tier-1 technology vendors now have object storage offerings and are competing aggressively in these solution areas that are commoditising rapidly. 

For SwiftStack to distinguish itself in a crowded field, we need to compete in areas where we have strong product differentiation.

Blocks & Files: SwiftStack appears to be re-orienting its product to successful areas? Which are they?

SwiftStack: While common uses of object storage are commoditising, over the past 18 months we have experienced customer success in areas such as deep learning (autonomous vehicle development), personalized medicine (genomics), telco/5G (edge computing), and analytics (esports, logistics). 

The use cases in these areas require unseen levels of performance at many petabytes scale, seamless management of data from edge to core to cloud, and a distinct partner ecosystem. These demanding applications and workflows are not going to be satisfied by object storage products designed for classic ‘active archive’ or ‘cheap and deep’ purposes.