Amplidata Attacks U.S. and World Cloud Market with AmpliStor

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Amplidata

Over the next month CloudTweaks will be presenting a series covering “25 growing cloud computing start-ups in Europe”.

Some of these promising start-ups are in their initial stage of development while others are already gaining strength and market share in the global market for Cloud Computing services. We can say that most of these companies are rough diamonds that could transform into real jewels in the crown within the next several years.

Privately held Amplidata was founded in 2008 by storage industry specialists Wim De Wispelaere and Wouter Van Eetvelde, while the third founder Kristof De Spiegeleer is self-described as a high tech visionary. The company has its headquarters in Lochristi, near Gent in Belgium, and employs about 30 data storage experts. Not surprisingly, the people behind the company were previously involved in developing other start-ups acquired by large multinationals at a later stage. People working in Amplidata were employed by DataCenter Technologies, which was acquired by Symantec in 2005 and Dedigate, which became part of Terremark in the same year. Thus, the founders of Amplidata follow the canonical career path of many Cloud Computing innovators who pursued a career with well established companies prior to decide to become entrepreneurs in a new fast developing market niche.

The company bets on some innovative technologies to build its solution for public and private clouds named AmpliStor. They call they core and most innovative technology BitSpread, a method to store data on disks increasing scalability and availability by a factor of 10,000. The technology divides objects and encodes them in redundant data blocks which are distributed and stored across a wide selection of Amplidisks. According to Amplidata specialists, the original object can be reconstructed with any sufficient subset of the stored data blocks, thus allowing data access even when servers or disks would fail or a particular data center is unavailable.
BitLog is another technology utilized by Amplidata. It provides zero-copy snapshots and cloning via continuous logging of blocks written to the data on the Amplidata storage system. It features intelligent caching and pattern-based I/O optimization.

BitDynamics rounds up the fundamental layers of Amplidata's solution by providing verification of data integrity, automatic data healing, scrubbing and garbage collection functions. The company implements these technologies to offer AmpliStor, an ambitious alternative to RAID, intended for building large-scale storage infrastructure that is much needed in the cloud. In addition, its solution boasts 90 per cent lower power consumption which is tempting both in terms of power saving and protecting environment. The solution is easily scalable since the BitDynamics technology automatically includes added storage nodes to the storage pool, so customer's application can instantly utilize the added capacity. Actually, Amplidata easily scales up to tens of Petabytes.

Such scalable and cost-effective approach attracted the attention of companies operating in Cloud Computing environment, especially those which rely on huge online storage services for their business. The company gained recognition for its innovative efforts at the Cloud Computing World Forum 2010 in London, where the company was awarded as “Best Cloud Storage Solution” for 2010.

“Cloud Computing World Forum recognizes our unique approach to replace RAID as the main technology for high-available and power-efficient storage systems” Wim De Wispelaere, CEO of Amplidata, commented after receiving the award in their first year.

The company attracted investors' attention as well. In May 2010, Amplidata finalized a first round of venture capital funding worth EUR 2.5 million, secured by Big Bang Ventures. Big Bang Ventures specializes in funding for start-ups and provides expertise and connections to entrepreneurs in the technology sector. The company needed the funding to boost sales and marketing activities in Europe and the U.S., Wim De Wispelaere commented in a press release.

“The introduction of high capacity SATA disks represents a huge opportunity to store massive amounts of digital data. But as RAID does not work on these, it requires a paradigm shift to build reliable and easy to manage storage systems with them,” he added.

In September 2010, Amplidata successfully closed a USD 6 million funding round with investors Big Bang Ventures, Endeavour Vision and Swisscom Ventures. Following the funding, Amplidata announced the opening of a U.S. headquarters in Redwood City. “We feel strong demand in the US market for our storage solutions so we decided to organize local presence to support that opportunity. The feedback that we receive from the market confirms that there is a real need for high available and scalable storage.” Wim De Wispelaere said in a press release, trying to explain why the company is investing in demo infrastructure overseas. However, the company does not intend to relocate its R&D departments, which are located in Belgium and India.

To conclude, Amplidata shows tremendous growth potential especially with the fast developing cloud sector. Cloud-based companies and companies operating in Cloud Computing environment need innovative solutions that are able to compete with RAID. Amplidata appears to be a good alternative to RAID-based solutions, so it could be a real rising star in the years to come. The company's management looks confident and possess the necessary experience in the data storage sector to offer a really competitive product. The future looks bright for Amplidata but one should not forget that new technologies come to life everyday and investing in R&D is crucial for a start-up company regardless of the fact that Amplidata already enjoys significant funding from venture capital investors.

By Kiril Kirilov

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