EqualLogic Founders' Startup DataGravity Launches First Data-Aware Storage Product

DataGravity wants to help companies not only control the proliferation of data, but to understand that data as well.

Jason Verge

August 19, 2014

3 Min Read
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DataGravity wants to expand the role of storage. The startup has a rich pedigree and is releasing its first products, called the Discovery Series, after a successful beta period, initially offered in two models, the DG2200 and DG2400, with 48TB and 96TB capacity levels.

DataGravity offers what it calls a data-aware storage solution. It is an early-stage company with the mission of turning data into information. The mission is not just to enable data discovery, but to make it simple to use so it proliferates in an organization.

According to a Gartner report, more than 80 percent of the data being produced today is unstructured. DataGravity says companies are struggling to maintain, much less benefit from, their rapidly growing stores of human-generated data. Companies are paying a premium for storage infrastructure, layered management applications and siloed processes that only introduce greater complexities without offering real-time insights.

This is the challenge DataGravity is trying to address with a unified storage platform that offers insights with the same richness of intelligence, regardless of whether the data is block or file. It supports NFS, CIFS/SMB and iSCSI LUNs, with the additional capability to manage virtual machines natively.

DataGravity is targeting the mid-size market, using a 100 percent channel model. The IT department is the entry point for the company. Based on the beta period, the company says that security and audit personnel get involved next, followed by end users themselves.  To company says that for a customer to build out similar functionality, it would require cobbling multiple pieces together, with a price tag beyond the mid-size market’s reach.

Founders John Joseph and Paula Long were the founders and original architects of storage startup EqualLogic, a company that was acquired by Dell in 2008 for $1.4 billion as the largest cash-only payout ever for a venture-backed firm at the time. DataGravity is privately funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures and General Catalyst Partners. It has raised $42 million since it was founded in 2012.

The company argues that storage needs to evolve beyond being a simple container. “We believe that storage, provisioning, deduplication and in-line compression have become standard features [in storage],” Long, the startup's CEO, said. “The features we’re talking about will be the next thing people ask for in their RFPs. Storage can’t be just a container for much longer.”

The DataGravity Discovery Series delivers storage, protection, data governance, search and discovery. "It is a unified, flash-optimized system, with enterprise-class high availability performance and features,” Longs co-founder John Joseph, the company's president, said. “Coupled with that is the DataGravity engine. On ingest it is looking at people, content and time. It exposes that intelligence in a single user interface.”

Atop an all-flash array, DataGravity's software catalogs data using a variety of parameters, presenting a historical look at how that data is used. Customers can use this to find out what’s taking up space, how and which users access data and what they contributed over time.

The DataGravity platform can be used for compliance, finding subject matter experts within the company based on their activity and general understanding into how and why storage is being used. This enables mid-market companies to glean new insights and make better business decisions.

IDC program vice president of storage Laura Dubois said the unstructured data dilemma is growing. "IDC has been predicting technology would catch up to provide an answer to the market demand,” she said. “The DataGravity approach is transformational in an industry where innovation has been mostly incremental. DataGravity data-aware storage can tell you about the data it’s holding, making the embedded value of stored information accessible to customers who cannot otherwise support the cost and complexity of solutions available today.”

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