SolidFire announces new funding, new storage nodes, but no plans for IPO

Picture credit: "Data Center", by "BobMical", used under CC BY NC / Modified from original

Flash storage provider SolidFire has beefed up its funding pool with a series D round of $82m, bringing its total up to $150m.

The funding was led by Greenspring Associates, a new investor, along with current investors NEA, Novak Biddle, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners. SolidFire says the new funds will be part of a global push and to advance its all-flash storage architecture.

“Series D financing for SolidFire is important,” Jay Prassl, SolidFire VP marketing, told CloudTech. “When you’re building an infrastructure company and a storage company like SolidFire, it’s a capital-intensive business.

“This D round funding is very important because it puts SolidFire very much on a path to profitability,” he added. “We are growing a very long term standalone storage company, and raising these funds allows us to really set us up on a path to profitability and leave the options open, if you will, for SolidFire to continue to make additional moves as it goes forward.”

Prassl added there was nothing set in stone regarding an IPO – indeed, reading the history books of what’s happened to storage companies in the past, he admits there’s no prize for going public too early.

Citing Violin Memory as an example, Prassl said: “Going public is often just one step in the process of continuing to grow a company, and it’s a choice you make at a certain point in time. Many companies...have been forced to go public...SolidFire certainly does not want to be in that position.”

SolidFire sees itself squarely at a key trend of big data architecture, offering storage based on flash memory, which is a more energy-efficient way of reading and digesting data. It’s evidently a popular idea, as the investment money keeps rolling in.

The firm has announced the expansion of its SF Series product line with two new storage nodes, offering users a cheaper way to get on board with the product. The SF2405 and SF4805 nodes represent the third generation of SolidFire hardware, with the SF2405 a low-end product release and SF4805 doubling up on that.

SolidFire says the SF2405 is aimed at IT departments and managers looking to take their first steps towards deploying a private cloud infrastructure, and IT as a service – but it doesn’t mean the company is taking its eye off the ball for its traditional large enterprise customer base.

“It’s cut the entry price point for SolidFire storage systems in half,” Prassl said. “That’s significant because that opens up a broader array of customers to SolidFire’s capabilities that maybe weren’t accessible before.

“Many people often think that a smaller storage node indicates your movement towards a smaller target customers, and that’s not the case here,” he added.

Prassl added the keys to initiating a small cloud environment are consolidation, automation of infrastructure, and ability to scale – something SolidFire feels it can do particularly well.

“So many flash companies out there today are focused on one thing: flash”, he said. “We’re a very different storage company. We use flash, for sure, but we go far beyond the media to deliver these three key areas.”

As Prassl argued, this is one of the main reasons why Greenspring Associates took an interest in investing.

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