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Start-Up Profile: Infinidat

Moshe Yanai's company in high-end enterprise storage systems
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2016.11.16

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Corrections on this article by CEO Moshe Yanai on November 21, 2016

Company
Infinidat Ltd.

HQs and offices
US HQs in Waltham, MA, R&D in Herzliya Pituach, Israel; major offices in San Jose, CA, London, UK, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tokyo, Japan, Milano, Italy, Sidney, Australia, and Stockholm, Sweden; more recently triples size of US HQs.

Date founded
2011

Financial funding
Total of $230 million, including $150 million in 2015 by TPG Growth, and at this time, holds a post funding valuation of $1.2 billion. Another investor is MII Ventures.

Revenues
The company didn't reveal any precise yearly figures for sales (only stating "more than hundred million of dollar"), but published some impressive percentages of revenue growth:

  • 300% in 2Q15
  • 61% in 3Q15
  • 331% in 2015
  • 213% Y/Y in 1Q16
  • 60% Q/Q in 2Q16
  • 53% Q/Q growth in 3Q16 (42% in EMEA and North America, 200% in UK) , 130% Y/Y

The start-up is "profitable since last quarter," according to CEO.

Main executives

infinidat yanaiMoshe Yanai, founder and CEO
He was born in 1949 in Israel and is one of the most prestigious name in the history of the worldwide storage industry.

 

He uses to be a tank commander in the Israel army.

He joined EMC in 1987, hired by Dick Egan to design and manage the Symmetrix (now Dell EMC VMAX) development software and hardware before leaving (or being fired?) EMC in 2001 to form XIV. He couldn't get a good salary when he arrives at EMC and offers to get a percentage on each Symmetrix sold. He then was angry to see EMC acquiring Data General at the origin of CLARiiON (then VNX) for as much as $1.1 billion in 1999 because he thought the company was able to design open mid-range arrays. Introduced in 1990, Symmetrix, with large cache memory for fast access to data and HA in a small footprint using lower-cost 5.25-inch HDDs for mainframes, was probably the most successful storage products in the history of the storage industry, beating IBM. In five years, EMC accounted for 41% of mainframe storage terabytes shipped while Big Blue's share fell to 35%.

Getting a lot of money from EMC, and then selling shares in XIV and Diligent, "Mr. Symmetrix" is one of the healthiest man in the storage industry. And his fortune will continue to grow with Infinidat, current start-up competing directly with VMAX, finally the best revenge for Yanai.

We met active investor, philanthropist and pilot Yanai twice, the first time several years ago, during a conference he did in Frankfurt, Germany, on XIV - he was a poor speaker -. But we never had the chance to see him for a face-to-face interview, even the second time in the offices of Infinidat in Israel where we were recently. We have never found an interview of him but learned that there was probably one published in an Israeli publication.

Named IBM Fellow in 2008, he is inventor/co-inventor of about 40 US patents in the field of storage.

In 2010, he was granted the prestigious IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award.

He love to drive his own helicopter notably inviting Madonna and Joe Tucci for a trip.

He is or was involved in the following firms as an executive or on the board:

  • Arineta (board's director)
  • Axxana (board's director)
  • Diligent Technologies (6% investor and co-founder), sold to IBM in 2008 for a reported $200 million
  • Infinidat (founder in 2011, chairman and CEO)
  • Sight Diagnostics (board's director)
  • XIV (investor, executive chairman), sold to IBM for $300 million in 2007 and where he worked until 2010

Izhar Sharon, president since 2013, also began in Israeli army. He was at EMC from 1998 to 2006 as software development director and then VP, CTO, customer service. After that he joins XIV as VP, technical services and operations, and the acquirer, IBM, as director, technical sales, storage solutions. He left in 2008 to be consultant of XtremIO.

Brian Carmody, CTO since October 2013, is another one from XIV here he worked for 5 years, co-founding the corporate solution engineering team.

Number of employees
400 including 40 in support

Product description
Since several years there was no new architecture for high-end storage subsystems. The new one, Infinibox, is based on 130 patents.

infinidat infinibox

The hybrid product, named Infinibox, delivers following official specs:

  • Scales from 115TB to 5PBs of effective capacity in a single 19-inch/42U rack with a mix of SSDs and HDDs
  • Each controller addresses as many as 480 drives
  • Uses dense cache layer, as much as 3TB of DRAM with 78% utilization of DRAM
  • SSD layer with capacity of 24TB to 210TB of SSD used as cache layer
  • InfiniBox 3.0 contains patented algorithms that keep the hottest data on the fastest media at all times, both writes and reads being optimized
  • Self-healing architecture with 99.99999% uptime (3.15s of downtime per year)
  • Inline data compression
  • 130/180μs latency
  • One million IO/s
  • 12GB/s throughput

[Note: according to customer Meitav Dash, Infinibox is running in production at around 100,000 IO/s, 3-4GB/s at 2ms read and 1ms write latency].

  • Fast disk rebuilds
  • Provisioning capability
  • FC, iSCSI, NFS, and Ficon protocols
  • Operational overhead of 1FTE/10PB
  • 8KW maximum, less than 4W/TB power consumption
  • small floor space
  • All software licenses are included

In last Magic Quadrant for General-Purpose Disk Arrays  from Gartner, Infinidat was named Visionary company.

Released date
First product shipped late 2013; Infinibox 3.0 released in October 2016 and be available later in 4Q16

Price range
$1/GB

Roadmap
50PB system in 2020; will use replication technology of Infinidat's wholly-owned subsidiary Axxana, whose co-founder and CTO Alex Winokur - who was CTO of XIV - also assigned patents for Infinidat.

Alliance partners
Aptare, Brocade, Cirrus Data, Cisco, Commvault, Continuity Software, Intel, Microsoft, Openstack, Red Hat, SAP, Stratoscale, Veeam, Veritas and VMware

Distributor
Notably IBM Global Services

Number of customers
200, 70% to 75% in USA

Known customers:
(total of 500PB shipped by Infinidat)

  • Bezeq International
  • bluelock
  • brightsolid
  • British Telecommunications
  • Colmobil
  • Design Shoe Warehouse
  • eHarmony
  • First Technology Group
  • Hawaii Medical Service Association
  • Helios
  • INetU
  • leumi
  • Menora Mivtachim
  • Raymond James
  • TriCore
  • Triple Cloud
  • hipcord

Competitors
Monolithic high-end storage systems from Dell EMC, HDS, IBM

Our Comments

The start-up has designed a modern architecture for high-end storage subsystems for a market globally decreasing. But it can also be used as high-end NAS. What's is missing today is replication and backup is subcontracted. The is no all-flash Infinibox but it could come as there was an all-SSD version in the Infinidat's lab.

[[This article was written following a free four-day invitation in Israel by The IT Press Tour. We went in the country mainly to get a face-to-face interview - supposed to be done - from Infinidat's storage guru CEO Moshe Yanai. We were supposed to meet him but he did everything to be unavailable. We hope that Infinidat's Infinibox and Yanai's helicopter are more reliable that the company's CEO and pilot. Ed].

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