2/17/2012
11:21 AM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary

What Makes A Top Storage Startup?

IT professionals need to keep an eye on the recent boom in innovative, new storage firms. Here's why.



Recently, there has been a strong spike in startup storage companies launched, which makes Storage Switzerland's latest project--compiling a list of the Top Storage Startups To Watch--important and exciting. Prior to releasing our list, I'll provide some background on the storage startup boom.

In the past few months, a high number of storage startup companies have shown up on our radar screen. Today I'll share our criteria for a storage startup and explain why it's crucial for IT professionals to pay attention to storage startups. In future entries, I'll talk about what's causing this storage boom and some of the key areas that these companies are focusing on that the established companies are not.

What Is A Storage Startup?

To make our Top Storage Startups To Watch list, the company will need to be a storage company that is not public and will ship its first revenue product in the either the next quarter or has already shipped it in the last 12 months. With those criteria, we are looking for the freshest of meat.

For a storage startup to be interesting, it has to do something that the established companies can't or aren't willing to do, like better embrace a new technology, dramatically lower pricing, or simply come up with a new way of solving an age-old problem.

Why Is This Important To IT Professionals?

Knowing what the startups are up to has value to the IT professional for several reasons. First, the startups may simply solve a storage performance, capacity, or price issue better than your current vendors do. While buying from a startup always has some risk, so does having to live with a storage problem.

Second, storage startups give you a clue on where your legacy vendors are going next. Most large companies don't lead the way in storage, startups do. For example, how many legacy storage companies have a flash-only storage system? Answer: None. How many do you think will in two years? Answer: All of them. History has shown that many of today's startups will be part of the larger vendors' portfolios in a few years.

Third, storage startups make you think. Even if you don't use their products, you will see interesting trends start to emerge that you may be able to apply in your environment right now.

Now that we've defined the type of company that will make our list, and why it's important for the IT pros to pay attention to the startups, next time we will look at the conditions that are creating such a fertile environment for storage startups, and, in a third entry, we'll take a general overview of what the startups are creating.

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George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement.

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