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Exclusive Interview With Nir Peleg, CTO, and Jacob Cherian, VP Product Strategy, Reduxio

Innovator in storage array architecture for today and future IT challenge
By Philippe Nicolas on 2017.02.01

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Who is Nir Peleg ?

He is

He was

  • CTO, Montilio
  • CTO and co-founder, Exanet
  • Principal engineer/VP R&D, nSOF



Who is Jacob Cherian ?

He is 

  • VP product management and product strategy, Reduxio

He was

  • Distinguished engineer, Dell (and several other positions since 1999)
  • Systems engineer, Tata Telecom

StorageNewsletter: Could you summarize the genesis and background of your company?
Nir Peleg (NP):
It all started late 2009/early 2010 when ExaNet was acquired by Dell. Two of the founders, Amnon Strasser and I, were in search of the next big thing. It had been a while since we realized that current storage systems lacked the right architecture to meet the needs of the future. They were merely a collection of patches, add-ons and bolt-on solutions that have accumulated over several decades.

We took on the task of architecting a new system from the ground up. Soon we had an initial concept that had inherently incorporated modern capabilities (solid state storage support, transparent data relocation, de-dupe, compression) while introducing new ones that had not existed before (BackDating). After we put together a prototype that demonstrated the basic data flow and data reduction capabilities of the new system we approached Mark Wiener, who joined us as the third founder. It was nearly another year before the name Reduxio came to be, and the first VC investment in the company was made on August 2012.

Who are the founders and people behind Reduxio? What are the products or storage technologies they already developed?
Jacob Cherian (JC): The founders of Reduxio are Mark Weiner (CEO), Nir Peleg, and Amnon Strasser (VP, research). Prior to Reduxio Mark was the CEO of ExaNet which was sold to Dell and has since become the Dell FluidFS. With over 20 years of experience in technical, sales and executive roles, Mark started his career at NetApp serving in various technical and sales roles and finally as VP of Western EMEA.

Nir and Amnon have been founders of multiple start-up companies in Israel, among them ExaNet (now Dell FluidFS) and Montilio which developed an innovative file acceleration product.

John Williams is the president and is responsible for the field strategy and operations worldwide. John, a NetApp veteran, was one of their first 50 employees. He has help multiple leadership roles including leading WW sales for NetApp’s Content Delivery business unit, VP EMEA for F5 Networks, and VP WW sales for Swan Labs.

Mike Grandinetti (chief marketing and corporate strategy officer) is responsible for global marketing including brand recognition, communications, and creative demand generation. He has served as a CMO at seven enterprise technology start-ups, taught courses on marketing and entrepreneurship at Hult International Business School, the Technical University of Denmark, MIT Sloan School of Management, and advised hundreds of start-ups and numerous early stage venture capital firms.

Rounding out the team is Dror Granot, VP engineering, who joined from Dell where he served as engineering director for overseeing the development fo Dell FluidFS core architecture. Dror Haiblum who jpoined Reduxio from our investor Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) is our director of finance.

I am the VP of product management and product strategy. I run Reduxio's product vision and strategy and have overall ownership for defining Reduxio's product portfolio and roadmap. Prior to joining Reduxio, I was at Dell in the enterprise storage group. I had moved to Israel after the acquisition of ExaNet to oversee FluidFS development and to support the integration of the team.

How is the company capitalized? Are you looking for additional VC round?
JC: Reduxio is venture-capital backed with investments from Intel Capital, Seagate Technologies, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), and Carmel Ventures. To realize our vision and to scale our growth we will be looking for additional rounds in the future.

What's the company vision?
We believe that storage infrastructure in unnecessarily complex with multiple silos of capability and capacity. These silos exist as a result of how the storage industry evolved and due to challenges posed by legacy storage architectures. Our vision is to simplify storage by collapsing the silos and virtualizing everything. We will deliver a single seamless storage platform that will span between on premise systems and public infrastructure with the ability to move data and application seamlessly across the systems while protecting and managing the data.

NP: Reduxio has a storage OS that will enable a whole new set of data management capabilities. The future lies with heterogeneous, converged, scale-out systems utilizing multiple media types and spanning across multiple geographies while offering rich data management capabilities. Our core architecture took into account this future; we can now draw lessons from our first product implementation and adapt future platforms accordingly, keeping the basic architectural paradigms intact. We are positioned to keep pace with, and lead in a rapidly changing market. 

What challenges you wish to solve?
The future of the IT is hybrid. Customer have to choose between different types of storage systems on premise and decide between on premise and the cloud for their storage needs, and moving data between systems is challenge. This is an issue we want to address. By virtualizing all the customer’s storage resources and by focusing on class of service and location, we will be able to simplify infrastructure while allowing applications seamlessly to move between on premise systems and between on premise and the cloud. By providing naïve data management and protecting capability, we will reduce the cost and complexity of infrastructure by eliminating the silos that exist today. 

NP: The storage market is rapidly changing. For years the world had been dominated by a single media type (spinning drives). These days are over. We have transitioned to a host of types with different characteristics (numerous solid state technologies, multiple cloud architectures). This is not only about shifting from moving heads to solid state. It is about being able to efficiently deploy multiple technologies at the same time, as we do not foresee the world converging to a back to any single type of media any time soon. Applications are simultaneously evolving, requiring closer integration with storage components. Global data mobility and availability while complying with local requirements are becoming of great interest. Our challenge is being able to accommodate for all that, while maintaining clean, coherent, scalable and flexible architecture and platform that will carry us further into the future.

What kind of storage product is it?
Our first product is a high performance flash storage array – the HX550. It was designed to support the most demanding enterprise applications.

You claim to have some key software that differentiates your platform, could you elaborate?
JC: Primary storage vendors for a very long time have focused on speeds and feeds to differentiate their products with no fundamental innovation in features to manage data. With the HX550, Reduxio has introduced BackDating which obsoletes schedule based snapshots. BackDating is always on and does not require management. With BackDating a user can recover any volume to any second. A customer who experiences the power of recovery to any second whether in a production or a DevOps environment will never be able to go back to schedule based snapshots. Our virtualization capability allows us to transparently, continuously, and rapidly move data between different types of media. This combing with our NoDup always on, inline, and global (cross volume) de-dupe with compression allows us to deliver the performance needed for the most challenging application while being cost effective.

HX550 is a block array, what about file services?
We currently do not support file services and is not on our immediate roadmap. 

What about competition?
The storage market is very crowded with very little differentiation between the different offering. Vendors especially since the adoption of flash have focused largely on competing based on the cost of capacity and price. Unfortunately, (and fortunately for us), this is not a sustainable model and we expect it will be a race to the bottom. We compete by delivering true differentiation and delivering feature capabilities like BackDating that sets us apart by providing customer unique value that they cannot get anywhere else.

What makes Reduxio unique?
We never think 'features first', and, as opposed to other companies, that were founded to deliver specific features (speed/better backup functionality/better space efficiency etc.). We have always approached things top down, with a complete system in mind. Particular technologies come and go, and, in a rapidly changing market, companies which owe their value proposition to a particular technology or set of features, will be short lived. Consequently, we were first to design a storage system from the ground up, with requirements, rather than features, in mind. Our guiding principle is "what does the customer need"? rather than "what does the customer want"? or "how are things being done today?". 

What is your business model?
Our model is direct to market through resellers focused on mid-range enterprise applications. As a company with unique value we strongly feel that is our responsibility to evangelize the product and its value with customers, and also strongly believe in the value of the channel to increase our reach.

How many customers do you have?
JC: We shipped the first HX550 to customers in November 2015. We currently have 70 customers spread between North America and Europe, some with significant number of customers with multiple systems.

What is the total capacity you operate? How many sites?
Across all deployed systems, customers use Reduxio to manage about 2PB of data.

Your revenue range?
We plan to triple revenue in 2017 from what we achieved in 2016.

How is the product priced and licensed?
The product is priced to be competitive with existing mid-range products. Given our unique architecture and NoDup technology we are able to deliver a solution that is cost effective but has outstanding performance and delivers unique capabilities.

What about the international presence?
JC: Reduxio is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. We have broad presence in the North American market and in EMEA.

What are the priorities for 2017?
JC: We have three priorities for 2017: expand sales, expand the product line, continue to add capabilities. We will add native DR capability to the product that will eliminate the need for traditional backup and replication, and start the process of bridging on premise infrastructure with the cloud.  


Read also:
Start-Up Profile: Reduxio
Another one in all-flash systems with plenty of excellent software
by Jean-Jacques Maleval | 2016.12.12 | News