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SolidFire - acquired by NetApp

SolidFire is a next-generation storage platform for cloud computing providers and other enterprises that need scalable, reliable storage for thousands of servers. The company's solution allows customers to take advantage of the performance of solid state storage at a price comparable to traditional spinning disk, while significantly reducing operational and storage management costs. For more information, go to

see also:- SolidFire - editor mentions on, SolidFire's blog

  • editor's comments:- September 2015 - SolidFire - which entered the SSD market in 2011 (but which has never appeared in the Top SSD Companies searched by readers of markets fast-enough rackmount SSDs (iSCSI and FC) which the company says are optimized for cloud storage deployments with system software which is scalable to multiple petabytes and which can be cost effective at this scale compared to HDD arrays.

    This is a market which includes many specialized products and customer specific value propositions with implementations in the same market space including both SDS (with various types of SSD software enhanced servers) as well as some traditionally recognizable storage systems.

    Due to the perceived growth potential of the cloud infratsructure amrket and the willingness of its tech savvy customers to make big investments in roll-out experiments - this is the sharp edge of the market which will be at the forefront of future market consolidation changes.

    A key value which SolidFire believes that its software management and monitoring experience and architecture facilitates is quality of the virtualized performance.

    A SolidFire blog - Elements of a Next Generation Data Center Series: Guaranteed Performance - describes this QoS promise in this way - "every volume ever provisioned must be assigned a minimum, maximum, and burst IOPS value, and those values must be respected no matter what is happening on any other volume, at any capacity level, with any I/O pattern, forever."
SolidFire - mentions in SSD market history

In February 2011 - SolidFire raised $11 million in financing which followed an earlier seed round of $1 million.

In June 2011 - SolidFire announced details of its first product - an iSCSI SSD appliance designed for cloud storage applications which the company says can scale to 1 petabyte capacity (which takes 100 nodes with current models).

In October 2011 - SolidFire announced it has raised $25 million in its 2nd funding round, bringing its total funding to $37 million.

An article in discussed the company - and includes this quote - "A single SolidFire cluster can scale from 3 to 100 nodes. Clearly a single node is not enough to run a resilient system, hence the recommendation for a minimum of 3 as the smallest configuration."

In July 2013 - SolidFire announced it has raised $31 million in series C funding which includes a new investor - Samsung Ventures.

In December 2015 - Network Appliance agreed to acquire SolidFire for $870 million.
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Samsung invests in SolidFire
Editor:- July 25, 2013 - SolidFire today announced it has raised $31 million in series C funding which includes a new investor - Samsung Ventures. SolidFire's latest product - the SF9010 - an iSCSI compatible fast-enough rackmount SSD - which will ship in September - uses SSDs from Samsung.

See also:- VCs & SSDs, exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs
"Suddenly spinning rust doesn't look so cheap after all, does it?"
...Dave Wright, Founder & CEO SolidFire in his May 2011 blog - Just How Expensive is Flash?
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SolidFire to be acquired by NetApp
Editor:- December 21, 2015 - Network Appliance has agreed to acquire SolidFire for $870 million in cash according to an announcement today - which also said that "with SolidFire, NetApp will now have all-flash offerings that address each of the 3 largest AFA market segments."

Editor's comments:- I had been expecting at least one SSD company to be acquired in December as this has become something of a tradition in recent years. NetApp was ranked 43 in the Q3 2014 edition of the Top SSD Companies List. If it didn't do SSD company acquisitions it wouldn't have any meaningful future in storage.
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SolidFire needs more space to grow
Editor:- August 11, 2015 - SolidFire today announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to sustain its "rapid growth" and eventually accommodate over 400 (projected) Colorado-based employees.

SolidFire currently employs approximately 250 employees based in its Boulder headquarters and an additional 150 employees located in regional offices around the world.
SolidFire opens sales channel in Japan
Editor:- March 19, 2015 - SolidFire today announced it has expanded its sales reach into Japan with the opening of a new office in Tokyo and a distribution agreement with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions.
Whatever you may think about mergers and acquisitions and suchlike behavior that's got very little to do with it.
consolidation in enterprise flash arrays
why? when? and how much?
SolidFire gets another $82 million funding
Editor:- October 7, 2014 - SolidFire today announced it has closed an $82 million Series D round of funding, bringing its total funding to $150 million.

New investor Greenspring Associates led the round along with a major sovereign wealth fund, with participation from current investors NEA, Novak Biddle, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners. SolidFire will use the additional funds to extend its global reach.

Editor's comments:- The basic building blocks of SolidFire's SSD systems are 1U iSCSI rackmount SSDs which include 10x 2.5" SSDs. At that level it's the same as 100 or so other competing systems.

If you want fibre channel access - you add a special 1U adapter rack to the native IP array. So it's expensive - but keeps the unit costs of the most common building blocks down - compared to including native unified storage in each rack. So in the case of a big installation - it's a reasonable cost optimization tradeoff.

A key difference is SolidFire's software architecture and the fact they use a big controller architecture type of RAID - which they call "no-RAID".

In SolidFire's no-RAID (which is really big RAID) - the data is more widely dispersed across the drive population than in classical (small architecture) RAID.

The effect is much less disruption to data access and consistent performance when a drive fails - because SolidFire's software can manage upto about 100 racks as a raw storage resource (1,000 SSD drives) - so the impact of a single drive down is small. Users also have a high degree of flexibility as to how they micro manage different virtualized segments of storage to meet their different QoS goals.
SolidFire - as an anti-jitter service in the cloud
Editor:- August 19, 2013 - SolidFire provides the underlying rackmount SSD support for a new SSD empowered cloud product Platform as a Service (PaaS) being offered by IT Solutions Now which I learned about in a blog by Sorab Ghaswalla on Software Tools Journal.

Editor's comments:- cloud companies - like the stars in the sky - are nearly numberless - however if you want to see a partial list of who they are - SolidFire's news page is cluttered with the names of cloud companies - and reads almost like a set of audited customer accounts than a technology news forum - which can be off-putting - if like me - you're looking for SSD content - rather than SSD investment fodder.

But although I couldn't find any mention of this particular story on my brief visit to their website this time around - I was reminded about an interesting observation which SolidFire had written about earlier (in February 2013) regarding the performance and QoS impacts that "Noisy Neighbors" can create in a shared storage infrastructure.

Their leading theme is cloud service providers - but this issue is also critical to almost any realistic deployments in an enterprise context - and is the implicit reason that many architects have preferred to isolate critical apps servers in the past - even within their own datacenters - rather than risk mixing them all up in pools.
noisy neighbor graphic by SolidFire
In a cartoon (they call it an "infographic") - Noisy Neighbors in the Cloud (pdf) - SolidFire captures the essence of this performance randomizing problem - whose solution (you guessed it) is to use more (of their) SSDs.

See also:- bottlenecks and SSDs, can you trust SSD performance benchmarks?, SSD scalabilities and symmetries
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