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Tintri closes $25M funding round, eyes Hyper-V market

Tintri, which sells appliances designed specifically for virtual machine storage, grabbed $25 million in funding today. CEO Kieran Harty said the money will be used mostly for expanding sales and marketing internationally.

Harty said Tintri is ahead of its business plan with more than 100 customers in five quarters since launching its VMstore appliances.

“We didn’t need money, but we decided it was better to be aggressive,” said Harty, whose company has $60 million in total funding.

VMstore uses solid state drives (SSDs) and hard drives to optimize performance. VMstore’s I/O requests map to the virtual disks they occur on and it uses no LUNs, tiers or volumes for provisioning storage.

Harty said two things have surprised him since Tintri started selling product.

“We thought customers would primarily use us in test and development and with a small amounts of virtual machines, but they’ve moved into production quicker and used a larger number of VMs,” he said. “We track how many VMs customers are running on appliances, and we see huge growth as they get more confident. They add more VMs, and then they need more capacity. We started seeing a lot of repeat buys this year.

“The other surprising thing is, we were skeptical about VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure]. VDI has been talked about for a while, but it’s actually happening now. About 30 percent of our customers are using VDI. One of the big drivers there has been the iPad and tablet devices in markets like healthcare and legal. They’re moving to a model of hosted desktops.”

Harty said Tintri execs benchmark their business model against those of backup vendor Data Domain (now part of EMC) and network firewall vendor Palo Alto Networks, two companies that cruised to profitability and went public. Measuring against those companies, Harty said he expects Tintri to hit break-even by the first half of 2014.

In the meantime, it will build out its channel under Brian Gladden, the former head of sales at Avere and alliance manager at EMC before joining Tintri as director of sales channel and business development in April.

Harty said Tintri will also maintain an aggressive product upgrade schedule, with the next release coming later this year. He won’t say what features will be added, but he is planning on adding Microsoft Hyper-V support in a future release. Tintri now supports only VMware.

“We’re actively looking at that,” he said of Hyper-V. “We expect that hypervisor will be important in the market, but we don’t expect it to be that significant until early 2013 at the earliest.”

Menlo Ventures led Tintri’s D round with previous investors NEA and Lightspeed Venture Partners contributing.

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