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Maxta

Maxta was founded by experienced entrepreneur Yoram Novick who previously founded Topio, a provider of platform-agnostic enterprise-level data replication solutions and served as Topio CEO from its inception until it was acquired by NetApp.
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Maxta has raised $10 million from Andreessen Horowitz, a top venture capital firm that provides seed, venture and growth-stage funding to the best new technology companies.


who's who in SSD? - Maxta

by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - April 30, 2014

Maxta made its first appearance in the Top SSD Companies list - based on metrics in Q1 2014 coming straight in at #12.



Editor's comments:- November 2013 - Maxta - which recently announced emerged from stealth mode - is in the enterprise SSD software market and SSD ASAPs (hybrid) market.

Competitors?

When it comes to what Maxta's product enables you to do (by virtualizing commodity servers with internal SSDs and HDDs into meta-scalable apps servers with globally enhanced characteristics) their competors include some hardware companies and software companies - depending at which level the customer wishes to engage with in the supply chain.

I'm tentatively puting these "competitor" companies on the list as providing some elements of technology which are similar to what Maxta offers. - But be aware that there are significant differences in some cases too.
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Hi Zsolt,

It was a pleasure talking to you earlier today. I enjoyed our conversation. Thanks for your great questions and feedback.

Although I am not 100% objective, I more than agree with you that Maxta is one of the 1 to 5 per cent of storage software companies which are different and offer sustainable value.
Yoram Novick, founder Maxta - email to the editor (November 7, 2013)


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"The decades old architectures of SAN and NAS, originally devised for the physical world, are still the dominant enterprise deployment architectures and are not particularly well suited for the virtual world. These architectures are still based on the notion of a storage box or storage array... The constructs used for storage abstraction, such as LUNs, volumes, files, etc., do not align well with virtual machine constructs."
Enterprise storage is broken! - blog by Maxta (2013)


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Here are some more SSD articles

new thinking inside the box - explores the many exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs.

Hostage to the fortunes of SSD - why are so many companies piling into the SSD market - when even the leading enterprise companies haven't demonstrated sustainable business models yet?

Where are we now with SSD software? - (And how did we get into this mess?)

7 tips to survive and thrive in enterprise SSD - In SSDs - rules are made to be broken.

meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon - what will happen as SSD utilization rates in the enterprise get better? - Consequences for SSD vendors and HDD makers examined.
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Editor:- October 7, 2014 - 42 is an auspicious number (for reasons described in the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

And so I'm using that excuse to mention that tomorrow will mark 42 days to the launch of a significant new enterprise software company. ...read more
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key SSD idea #4

re micro tiering and micro clouds


One of the trends in computer architecture in recent years is that new software architectural concepts which deliver sustainable efficiency or management efficiencies have found it easier to get their benefits established and recognized at a large scale - as part of big web entities or cloud infrastructure.

But the lessons learned have been duly noted and reapplied to other use cases and are now finding their way into individual rack scale products too.

3 companies which stand out for their different approaches in this respect are:-
updating 10 key SSD ideas in 2014 (September 2, 2014)
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Maxta joins the elite set of enterprise contenders who are vying to own the next generation SSD-centric platform
Editor:- November 13, 2013 - This week Maxta completed its staged emergence from stealth mode and launched its first product - the Maxta Storage Platform - a hypervisor-agnostic software platform for repurposing arrays of standard servers (populated with cheap standard SATA SSDs and hard drives) into scalable enterprise class apps servers in which the global CPU and storage assets become available as an easily managed meta resource with optimized performance, cost and resilience.

Editor's comments:- I spoke last week to Yoram Novick about this new product, his company and what customers have been doing with it.

Before you dip into my bullet points below - here's a header note of orientation.

We've all seen new companies launching SSD software and pitching for the enterprise with products which are little more than spruced up versions of "hello SSD world!"

Then a year later - some essential compatibility features get added, and later still some degree of better or worse high availability.

It didn't used to matter much if everything wasn't in place at the start - or if these new companies didn't have sustainable business plans - because there was an appetite for acquiring them.

From my perspective I'd say that many companies have regarded the launch of their SSD software is simply an invitation to attract users who could provide the market knowledge they needed to flesh out the feature set.

In these important respects Maxta is different because:- prior to this week's product launch they've already had a group of 10 or so advanced customers in different industries who have been using the product and also the enterprise features - like manage-ability, scalability, resilience and data integrity are already in the product today.

Maxta's technology and business architects have done enterprise storage software before - as you can see from their linkedin bios. Yoram told me that he and Amar Rao (Maxta's VP of Business Development ) used to compete with each other in earlier storage startups and the companies which had acquired them.

So it soon became clear to me in the details I saw and asked about (not all of which are listed here) that a lot of careful planning and up front thinking and problem solving has already guided the "launch".

Here's some of what I learned.
  • market scope

    MxSP is the software glue for enabling easily managed SSD enhanced storage pools in VM environments which scale from the ROBO upto cloud infrastructure.

    The base level configuration which provides HA features starts as low as 3 nodes. This is attractive for enterprises with remote offices because it's a small footprint. But it's also attractive from a running cost point of view too - Yoram said because of the special low price point for associated software.

    Maxta has a customer who started with these 3 node configurations for remote offices but liked them so much that their bigger arrays are now built mostly from arrays of 3 too.
  • the problem it solves

    The evolution of enterprise CPU and storage resources have followed different tracks in the past decade - leaving users in the position today where it's easy and economic to deploy more CPUs but relatively awkward, expensive or error prone to map these CPU resources into virtual storage which scales with the same ease and which takes advantage of the low cost and high performance of commodity enterprise SSDs.
  • the storage pool

    Maxta's architecture aggregates the SSDs and HDDs in the server pool into a single globally accessible, fault tolerant SSD accelerated virtual storage pool.

    Within Maxta's software - all the SSDs are collected together as 1 super SSD resource and another big resource is created from the HDDs.

    Internally Maxta's software knows that SATA SSDs and SATA HDDs have different personalities for example:-

    • HDDs have low cost per unit of capacity but slow random read latency
    • SSDs have fast random read, and fast sequential write

    Not every node in the array has to have an SSD or HDD inside but it's not sensible to have a system which doesn't have any SSDs at all.
  • fault tolerance, data integrity, VM snapshots, cloning etc

    Yes they're all in the product now.
  • software? - it's a virtual world view

    Everything about MxSP is virtual. And it doesn't require new management tools. The operational aspects will clarify in customer case studies and white papers.
  • Maxta's business plan

    I told Yoram how disillusioned I had become about the sustainability and viability of new storage software companies - given my experience of having tracked over 1,000 storage companies and terminating the list of gone-away and acquired companies in a single decade at the 500 company level. (That's before I started the gone-away SSD companies list BTW - which is well on its way to 100.)

    Jaundiced by that experience it seems to me that over 95% of storage software startups don't have much of a clue about how to translate their IP assets into any sustainable business value and are mostly founded at the outset with the fervent desire that before the VC and IPO money run out - they will get acquired. So I asked him if Maxta would be any different to that?

    Yoram told me some of what Maxta has been doing in laying the foundations for growing the business to become a significant storage platform (in his words) a significant software company like Microsoft or Veritas.

    I won't say more here because this is too long already - despite having not even mentioned most of the notes I made during our conversation.

    Looking back on this nearly a week later (and having seen some of their documents before) I'm left with the impression that maybe indeed Yoram is right and his company could become not only one of the rare storage software companies which are sustainable as a business. But going further than that - maybe too it has the makings of a company which could be one of the five to ten companies which will dominate the SSD software platform market of the future.

    Who are the other contenders?

    I've given you lists before - but this list is evolving because 4 of the 10 companies were still in stealth mode last time I did that.

    If you're interested in the SSD enhanced storage platform idea (and who wouldn't be) then another good place to look is the list of competitors which I've compiled in Maxta's profile page.

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