Nimble Storage is also targeting the virtualization and SSD markets with converged iSCSI storage, backup and disaster recovery products that combine fast SSD storage with inexpensive SATA drives to give customers primary and backup storage in one device, while also providing offsite replication. Nimble improves storage efficiency with thin provisioning and other features, and is optimized for VMware virtualization deployments and Microsoft applications such as Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server.
Network virtualization and disaster recovery
Earlier in this article we noted that VMware became an IT giant by virtualizing the commodity x86 server. One of our "stealthiest" startups is trying to virtualize the network in much the same way VMware virtualized servers.
Nicira Networks, with financial backing from VMware co-founder Diane Greene and a patent-pending network operating system, aims to treat physical infrastructure as a resource pool of capacity, and create logical representations of that capacity which are decoupled from physical infrastructure. If successful, Nicira believes it can "free data center networks form the tyranny of inflexibility, complexity, vendor stranglehold, and high costs."
Nicira isn't saying yet when its technology will be available. Today's virtualization technology, however, is in wide use and provides new opportunities for data center managers to improve disaster recovery. That's the market addressed by our final two New IT Companies to Watch: ZeRTO and Actifio.
Still in stealth mode, ZeRTO is revealing little more than that it is developing disaster recovery/business continuity software aimed at the needs of virtualized, mission critical applications and cloud deployments. CEO Ziv Kedem previously co-founded Kashya, a company acquired by EMC and turned into EMC's RecoverPoint data protection and remote replication product.
ZeRTO is accepting applicants for a private beta program.
Actifio, meanwhile, is attempting to simplify disaster recovery and data protection with software that combines storage virtualization with several other capabilities. The software "integrates capacity optimization with data de-duplication, compression, encryption and network usage optimization," to automate the copy, store, move and restore operations, while helping IT deliver a service catalog with defined SLAs.
Actifio's Data Management Virtualization technology is available now at prices starting at $100,000.
Actifio -- similarly to startups Nimble Storage and Infineta -- is combining several technologies together in unique ways in what Taneja likes to call the "technology blender."
Blending technologies together to solve multiple problems at once may be a good approach for today's complicated IT world. But it's not the only way to break into the enterprise data center, as these 25 startups are showing.
How many of these startups will turn their technologies into successful business models is an open question. But in most cases these startups are gaining significant funding from venture capitalists, a hint that they might be on the right track.
Although the venture market in 2010 is better than it was in 2009, the funding available to tech newcomers has greatly declined over the past decade, leaving money for only the best new companies.
As Armstrong puts it, "There are a lot of bad ideas getting weeded out."
Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.