Campbell CA-based Komprise was in attendance at NetApp’s Insight event last week. The Silicon Valley startup, which makes an analytics-driven data management solution, has been a regular at conferences of large storage OEMs this year, talking both with potential customers and potential partners. NetApp is a partner. They have a joint data management solution around NetApp’s StorageGRID object storage. Komprise also uses a 100 per cent channel model, which is made up of key storage resellers of multiple OEMs, including NetApp.
The company was created in 2013 and is venture funded, one of several such entities battling in this space, along with legacy vendors and their management solutions. The three founders – CEO Kumar K. Goswami, COO Krishna Subramanian, and CTO Michael Peercy, are now on their third company. Their first, Kovair, makes a DropBox-like SaaS solution for application lifecycle management, and is still going strong, long after the founders’ departure. Their second, Kaviza, made a ‘VDI-in-a-box’ solution aimed at smaller businesses. The company had a successful OEM deal with Dell, and was ultimately sold to Citrix in 2011, at a time when Citrix was pursuing a strategy of acquiring interesting technologies outside its core competency. The Kaviza technology was poorly managed by Citrix, and has now been end-of-lifed, but that’s a reflection on Citrix, not the founders.
Komprise, like the founders’ first two companies, was created to solve a specific problem.
“We created this company because customers told us they were drowning in data,” Subramanian said. “The cost of data wasn’t the cost of storing it alone, as 70 per cent was the cost of managing it. So we created an intelligent solution that would learn from the customer’s environment, and which doesn’t interfere with their use of their storage.”
Subramanian emphasized that the Komprise solution emphasizes simplicity.
“We are delivering a really simple to use, simple to scale and highly affordable solution,” she said. “It was designed to today’s scale of data, written from the ground up to handle scaled-out data. A lot of older ones were built when a petabyte looked big and having a central database sounded modern. We are completely scale-out – a virtual machine – with no central data base, no bottlenecks, no stubs, no agents. It can run as a cloud service, but doesn’t require the cloud. It can also work with everyone, because it’s open standards based.”
Komprise has several other key vendor partnerships besides NetApp, including EMC, Spectra Logic, Scality and Quantum. They also partner with cloud providers AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Storage. Dell resells them in some geos, but not yet in North America. HPE is another key vendor not yet signed, but with whom they are talking. While most of these vendors also make management software that cuts across layers, Subramanian said that Komprise’s relationship with them is much more collaborator than competitor.
“We work with them because they realize that there is no one size that fits all in the market, and customers want choice,” she stated. “They get a simple to use, scalable software from us. For the vendor, it’s a way to ingest more data into their storage, and it lets them show the customer that they will support what they want.”
Subramanian said that Komprise has a 100 per cent channel model, as did the founders’ first two companies, although their channel is very much a value one rather than a volume one.
“Our partners are in the few dozens,” she indicated. “The product is designed to not require a specialist to deploy, and channel value today isn’t deployment expertise anyway. That erodes their margin. Their real value-add is around consulting, and that’s what we enable for the channel. The product itself is easy to deploy and get up and running. But the partners can provide services around it. We provide them with a way to show the customer how to grow their footprint more efficiently.”
“We are seeing strong interest from premium Canadian customers, and are looking for partners there,” Subramanian said.