Nasuni scores more cash to fight file services war

Nasuni has scored $60 million in a ninth round of funding with software development, more international expansion, and potential strategic acquisitions in mind.

The company was started in 2008 as a sync’n’share, collaboration, and file services gateway supplier and has grown into a cloud-based file services platform provider supporting AWS, Azure, and GCP. Responsiveness to users is helped by its use of edge caching devices. CEO Paul Flanagan told us in February: “The new customer growth rate was 82 per cent in 2021 and the year ended with around 600 enterprise customers.”

In the funding announcement, he said: “Nasuni pioneered the cloud-based file data services category almost a decade ago and has led the way in defining the architecture, business model, and user experience. This investment and our continued, rapid growth are validation of our vision.”

Nasuni pointed out that IDC predicts cloud file services adoption will reach a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 per cent and be a $14 billion market by 2025. The growth rate for file data is higher than both the block and object storage markets. 

The latest cash injection came from new investor Sixth Street Growth, which has bagged itself a Nasuni board seat. Nasuni’s total funding to date stands at $169 million, it said today, and the company has $100 million in cash on its balance sheet. The business did not reveal estimates of its latest valuation but claimed it is 250 per cent higher than 18 months ago, meaning it’s possibly a unicorn with a greater than $1 billion valuation.

Nasuni says that data growth is exponential, and traditional data storage and protection based on hardware is no longer scalable, secure or cost-effective. Businesses need a new approach which can be deployed from anywhere, have unlimited scale, protect data across the enterprise, and deliver it securely as a cloud service. Only solutions built natively in the cloud will be able to successfully deliver on all of this.

Marketing war looms

The message here is that on-premises filers are yesterday’s tech. We see on-premises filers moving into the cloud too. NetApp’s Data Fabric means its file services are available in AWS, Azure, and GCP. Qumulo supports them as well. The on-premises filer suppliers have the equivalent of Nasuni’s edge caching devices – their existing filer boxes – but they don’t have Nasuni’s cloud center base. 

Nasuni File Data Services system can be viewed as a monstrous filer in the cloud which talks to edge devices in customers’ datacenters. Many rivals are focused on premises with each customer’s datacenter being the center of its filesystem universe, and the cloud instantiations viewable as quasi-satellite locations.

An on-premises system may be multiple petabytes in size and support thousands of users, while Nasuni’s cloud-focused platform could be approaching exabytes in size and have the scale to service millions of users. This, we think, is what Nasuni is hinting at when it claims only systems built natively in the cloud will be able to successfully deliver file services at scale.

There is a marketing war looming between the on-premises filer suppliers and the cloud-centric file services group. Nasuni firmly believes this is approaching and needs the cash to build up its operation and withstand an onslaught from competitors as they switch – as Nasuni thinks they must – to a cloud-centric product strategy.