Why We Invested in Qumulo

Several trends – the decline in the cost of data storage, the growth of the Internet of Things, and the rise of consumer-generated data – have converged to double the amount of data in the world every two years. Enterprises feel comfortable storing everything as the cost of doing so keeps falling. The Internet of Things will account for ten percent of all data by 2020 as more of our devices get connected. And the worldwide adoption of smartphones, the 10x growth in the App Store in the last five years, and the ability to produce high-quality images across devices means that it’s never been easier to store pictures, videos, music, and files. It’s an exciting time, as Big Data promises to transform how we live and work.

Big Data promises to transform how we live and work.

But right now, enterprise IT professionals – who, in addition to managing internal corporate data, are also responsible for 85 percent of consumer-generated data – are more overwhelmed than excited. As CIOs are perennially asked to do more with less, application and infrastructure budgets are getting squeezed, with little hope for additional headcount. For all of the promise of Big Data, only 5 percent of the data is generating actionable insights. This is all happening while IT departments cope with how to understand, store, and make sense of an enormous number of files and digital assets that just keeps growing. If we want to solve these problems, our approach to managing data must quickly change.

For all of the promise of Big Data, only 5 percent of the data is generating actionable insights.

Today, most of the data we create and store, from posts to messages to tweets to videos, is unstructured. As a result, the market is shifting from block storage – best suited for structured data – to file and object storage. It’s also moved beyond a batch-and-analyze approach to data management, as decision-makers demand real-time access to insights from incoming data. Enterprises can’t just manage storage capacity anymore: They must manage data and the useful information derived from it. Building a storage solution that enables enterprises to do this as the amount of data grows exponentially is hard. You would need to combine a breakthrough technical approach with a top-notch team that is obsessively focused on customers.

That’s why we invested in Qumulo.

Qumulo builds intelligence into the storage system through its cutting-edge architectural solution. Built to make full use of modern Flash memory technology, Qumulo gives users insight on the stored data in an intelligent and efficient way. Just as every library needs a file system to classify its books so that readers quickly find what they need, Qumulo solves the issue of managing billions of files and petabytes of data by delivering the world’s first scale-out storage solution with stored data awareness.

How did Qumulo do this? First, they focused on a breakthrough solution, one designed from the very beginning to index and manage data, not just storage, in real-time. Second, they put together a first-class team with deep experience, a team that has done this before. Qumulo’s co-founders pioneered solving the first half of the scaling problem, that of scaling storage capacity, in the early days of Isilon (acquired by EMC in 2010 for $2.25B). Now armed with affordable Flash memory storage, ever-cheaper spinning disks, the latest cloud technology, and agile customer-centric development processes, Qumulo can solve the remaining scaling data problem.

Finally, they designed the solution to be compatible with existing off-the-shelf hardware. This software-based approach gives customers the flexibility to deploy and run Qumulo wherever they want, including in the cloud. Meeting a need by delivering a pioneering solution that customers can seamlessly adopt is exactly what great startups do.

The people who have to manage, administer, and secure the influx of data we see today are struggling to stay afloat. With Qumulo, a world-class team has taken on this problem, helping users derive sharper insights and deliver more value to the customers they serve. And all of us contributing to this deluge of data – whether through our apps, smart home devices, or digital health sensors – can continue doing so without ever noticing a hiccup.

Wen Hsieh and Creighton Hicks are partners at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.