Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Pivot3 Will Use New Funding to Integrate Flash Acquisition 

Storage specialist Pivot3, which recently acquired flash array startup NexGen Storage Inc., said this week it has completed a $55 million funding round as it rolls out an expanded portfolio of hyper-converged and flash storage options.

Pivot3 said Tuesday (March 15) that Argonaut Private Equity and S3 Ventures provided equity financing. As part of the funding round, the company said it would acquire additional financing from technology investor Square1 Bank.

The investors cited the combination of emerging hyper-converged platforms and flash storage as key technology drivers for current datacenter infrastructure. The partners reckon the "addressable" U.S. market for hyper-converged IT infrastructure is approaching $10.6 billion as datacenter operators look to consolidate operations for scale and efficiency. The investors are also betting that current forecasts of a $13.5 billion flash storage market pan out by 2018.

Pivot3, Austin, Texas, said the latest funding round would be used to deliver new platforms as customers embrace software-defined datacenters. It also would be used to integrate NextGen's flash array technology with Pivot3's current hyper-converged infrastructure platforms while extending its proprietary scalar erasure coding technology to NexGen's storage offerings.

In February, the infrastructure specialist acquired privately held NexGen Storage, which was spun out from SanDisk Corp. last year. The startup was a developer of PCIe flash arrays that target storage reliability and just-in-time "dynamic" provisioning capabilities. The combination would allow customers to match the appropriate infrastructure to specific workloads, applications and services while guaranteeing the required level of service for storage, Pivot3 claimed.

NextGen had pitched its dynamic QoS as a "differentiator" that helps govern performance targets, I/O prioritization and data placement. At the time of the acquisition, Pivot3 said the deal would allow it to support new uses cases emerging from trends like the Internet of Things while allowing users to prioritize applications and categorize data.

Prior to the acquisition, NexGen rolled out extensions to its N5 flash arrays based on multiple tiers of flash storage, including RAM, low-latency PCIe flash and higher capacity solid-state drives. Those components were blended in dynamic storage QoS to help avoid latency spikes and resource contention issues often seen in all-flash arrays. NexGen described dynamic QoS as its "secret sauce."

Pivot3 asserted that the combined approach would allow it to expand datacenter use cases beyond current hyper-converged infrastructure. The challenge is to "expand the traditional notion of hyper-convergence and high-performance storage," Pivot3 CEO Ron Nash noted in a statement announcing the equity and bank-financing round.

Founded in 2003, Pivot3 announced a $45 million funding round last year. The cash infusion was used to expand its operations while investing in storage and virtualization technologies. While the NexGen deal beefs up its storage portfolio as HPC technologies enter the mainstream, the company also said it was looking to extend it virtual desktop capabilities along with related capabilities like virtual security servers.

 

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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