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Gridstore receives funding for Hyper-V storage system

Gridstore, which this year changed its strategy and product to focus on optimizing storage for Microsoft Hyper-V, today closed an $11 million funding round to bring its new system to market.

Gridstore CEO George Symons said the vendor will expand its sales team to sell the new product, also called Gridstore. Symons said Gridstore has converted all of its beta sites to paying customers, and is looking to add about 10 people to the 32-person company.

With Gridstore 3.0, the vendor switched from selling scale-out NAS grid storage for SMBs to storage for mid-market companies using Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V. Gridstore installs as a virtual controller that runs on the host and provides quality of service on a per-VM basis. It has hybrid configurations that use PCIe flash and arrays that are 100% spinning disk.

Symons said sales of the new systems are averaging 36 TB compared to 6 TB in previous versions. He said Gridstore competes mainly with NetApp FAS, EMC VNX and Nimble Storage CS arrays. He said about half of its customers use the systems for backup and the other half for primary storage.

Symons said he expects to get a sales bump as Hyper-V catches on.

Part of the funding will also go towards product development. Symons expects an upgrade around June. He said Gridstore will eventually move into VMware and release all-flash versions of its array, but not in the next release.

“That will focus more around management and performance enhancements,” he said. “We’ll add grid-based snapshots for VSS [Volume Shadow Copy Service] and zero-copy clones.”

The zero-copy clones should make Gridstore a better fit for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) storage, he said.

“Architecturally, we’re well set up for VDI because of the way we spread data across multiple nodes,” he said. “We can take advantage of write-back caching.”

Because Gridstore is software that runs on commodity hardware (Dell servers), the vendor labels the product software-defined storage. Symons said he was reluctant to use the term, but was surprised to find it resonates with customers.

“I hesitated to use the term,” he said. “I thought, ‘does anybody care outside of industry people?’ But customers like the fact that there’s something new and it’s why we’re different. The fear was that term can mean so many things, but reception has been tremendous.”

The funding brings Gridstore’s total to $23.5 million over two rounds Acero Capital led the round with previous investors GGV Capital, Investec Ventures Ireland Limited, and Onset Ventures participating.

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