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Exclusive Interview With Krishna Subramanian, President and COO, Komprise

Towards universal data management approach for unstructured data
By Philippe Nicolas on 2017.02.16

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Who is Krishna Subramanian?

She is:

She was:

  • VP marketing, cloud platforms, Citrix
  • COO, Kaviza
  • Senior director, cloud strategy and corporation development., Sun Microsystems
  • CEO, Kovair
  • Product lead, Sun Microsystems

Storage Newsletter: Komprise is a recent company, not very visible on the market, could you summarize the majors steps of the company?
Krishna Subramanian: Komprise was founded in 2014 based on customer demand for a simpler way to manage exploding data growth. The core team at Komprise has built two prior successful businesses in the storage and data markets. The Komprise Data Management solution was released in 2016 and is already being used by major enterprises in financial services, genomics, media and entertainment, engineering and government. Komprise delivers intelligent analytics-driven data management that analyzes data growth and usage across a customer’s current storage, projects the ROI of moving inactive/cold data to secondary storage such as cloud/object, and then moves data based on customer defined policies transparently. Users continue to access the moved data as before and Komprise preserves both file based access as well as object based access for the moved data. Komprise helps customers reduce over 70% of costs while managing data growth.

Number of employees?
Over 30 employees.

Who are the founders, give us a bit of background? What are the products or storage technologies they already developed?
Komprise is the third data-related business for the founding team who have built two prior businesses that simplified storage infrastructure for thousands of enterprises. Kumar K. Goswami (CEO), Krishna Subramanian (COO), and Mike Peercy (CTO) met over 25 years ago at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and have founded all three businesses. Their first business was a Dropbox-like SaaS solution for customer and engineering collaboration and still operates today, their second business eliminated SAN storage for virtual desktops and was acquired by Citrix. The goal for Komprise is to help businesses handle today’s massive data growth with intelligent automation.

How is the company capitalized? Who are the board members?
Komprise is privately held and venture-backed by leading Silicon Valley and international venture funds. Komprise has raised $18 million in venture funding through two rounds from Canaan Partners, Walden International and industry luminaries such as Bill Moore, co-founder of ZFS and EMC Fellow, and Sanjay Mehrotra, founder and CEO of SanDisk.

What's the company vision?
The mission is to help businesses handle the growing tsunami of data with intelligent automation software that adapts to the customer’s environment and scales across their storage silos, on-premise and cloud, without creating new ones. Komprise delivers on this vision through analytics-driven data management that is radically simple to deploy and operate, and delivers immediate ROI.

What are the challenges you wish to solve?
Komprise is disrupting the multi-billion dollar market for unstructured data management with an easy to adopt, easy to scale, storage agnostic solution that costs a fraction of the alternatives. According to the analyst firm IDC, by 2020 the digital universe will reach 44 ZB, 90% of which is unstructured data. Existing data management approaches were not designed to handle this monumental explosion in the variety, volume, and velocity of data - 25% of IT budgets are already spent on storage and data management with no room to grow. Komprise enables businesses to squeeze data growth into flat budgets and cut 70% of costs, without disrupting users or the existing storage infrastructure. Komprise addresses the major challenges businesses have with data - i) businesses lack visibility into data growth and usage across their storage silos and are making critical decisions in the dark, ii) businesses lack storage-agnostic mechanisms that transparently and efficiently manage data across heterogeneous NAS and object/cloud stores while allowing access across them, iii) the cost and complexity of legacy data management solutions makes them hard to adopt, and iv) businesses lack easy ways to find relevant data across storage silos and extract data value.

What are the target market segments?
We address data stored in NFS, SMB/CIFS and Rest/S3 storage for any customer that wants to streamline management of data. Komprise is used in data intensive verticals including genomics, healthcare, media and entertainment, engineering, manufacturing, oil and gas and government. Komprise is designed to be setup in 15 minutes with no dedicated infrastructure and scale on-demand as virtual appliances - so customers can get started easily and grow on-demand to handle petabytes of data.

We hear a lot of things about software-defined storage. First do you consider Komprise being in SDS offering? And second, what is your definition of SDS?
SDS has come to mean different things to different people and is often used to describe storage solutions with embedded policy-based management and some flexibility in the underlying hardware. Komprise provides the ultimate flexibility in hardware by not providing any storage of its own but rather working with any NFS, SMB/CIFS and REST/S3 storage to deliver analytics-driven policy-based  software-defined management.

What kind of storage product is it? We understand you play in the data management space right?
Komprise is not in storage but instead in data management software that works across storage to help customers address use cases including capacity planning, tiering/archiving/transparently extending existing storage without changing user access, migrating data across storage architectures, replicating and providing DR, and delivering both file and object access to data across storage.

What kind of primary and secondary storage does Komprise support today?
Komprise works with any NFS, SMB/CIFS, and Rest/S3 storage. Komprise partners include NetApp, EMC, Quantum, Spectra Logic, Google Cloud Storage, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and HPE.

Linked to our previous question, what are the access protocols you need to be deployed?
Komprise works with any storage that supports NFS, or SMB/CIFS, or REST/S3 protocols.

What are the advantages of your data tiering approach, technically and financially?
We eliminate the cost, complexity, limited scalability, and disruption of current data management approaches. Komprise is a scale-out, standards-based, storage-agnostic, adaptive, analytics-driven policy-management automation solution that gives analytics within 15 minutes and scales on demand. Komprise is priced disruptively to be a fraction of the cost of the alternatives, so customers can immediately save over 70% of costs by deploying Komprise.

In a nutshell, could you illustrate some advantages of your architecture? Why yours is better?
We require no upfront hardware and installs as just a virtual machine, it requires no storage agents and works through standard protocols, Komprise does not interfere with the hot data path and works in the background, uses no static stubs that disrupt data access, preserves access to the data both as files and as objects so that there is no storage lock-in, and scales on-demand linearly without any central bottlenecks such as databases or control servers.

In fact, the company develops a product based on solid technologies, could you elaborate on a few of them?
Komprise analyzes data across storage and moves data efficiently with a very minimal footprint and no noticeable performance impact because of its adaptive distributed architecture. Komprise works as a highly available grid of Komprise Observer virtual machines that analyze and move data - the Komprise grid does not require any central master or database, and the Observers throttle themselves back automatically as needed based on the load on the customer’s storage and network environments so that Komprise always runs in the background.

What makes Komprise unique?
Similar to how changed the sales automation software market, Komprise is delivering unprecedented simplicity, cost-efficiency and intelligent automation for data management.

A few names in your partner ecosystem?
Komprise partners with the leading cloud and storage vendors including Google Cloud Storage, AWS, Azure, NetApp, EMC, Quantum, Spectra Logic and HPE.

How do you sell?
Komprise sells through the channel and we are continuing to build and expand our channel ecosystem.

What about competition?
Unlike legacy data management solutions that are costly, proprietary, complex, and have centralized bottlenecks that limit scaling. Komprise is simple, cost-efficient, scalable and standards-based. Unlike array-based tiering solutions that lock you in to the source file system, Komprise provides native access to data both from the source and the cloud/target without lock-in and is analytics-driven with adaptive policy management (e.g. cloud cost controls).

How many customers?
Komprise has a growing base of enterprise customers across the major data intensive verticals. Customers handle petabytes of data across billions of files through Komprise - including the world’s major financial and insurance companies, leading genomics companies like Pacific Biosciences and Invitae, leading media and entertainment businesses, engineering firms like Cadence Design Systems, oil and gas, government institutions such as Kent District Library and Houston Housing Authority, as well as mid-market enterprises such as Medplast.

What is the total capacity you operate/manage? How many sites?
Most of our customers handle petabytes of data across thousands of shares and billions of files. Komprise is designed to scale up and down based on demand, so a customer can start with a few terabytes and scale the solution up. Many of our customers have Komprise deployed at multiple global data centers

Revenue range of the company?
As a privately-held company we don’t disclose revenues, but Komprise is rapidly growing and expanding its revenue footprint and customer base.

How is the product priced and licensed?
Komprise is licensed based on the amount of capacity managed. Customers can either choose an annual subscription of $60/TB/year or a one-time perpetual software license of $150/TB. Komprise is priced to deliver instant savings of ~70% on every terabyte you move to secondary storage.

What about the international presence?
Komprise is building partnerships with distributors and resellers internationally - in EMEA, Latin America, Australia and AsiaPac.

What are the priorities for 2017? And what is the future for Komprise?
Komprise just closed our Series B round of funding and the goal for this year is scaling operations and expanding sales and marketing both within the US and globally. To fulfill our mission of helping businesses not only be efficient with managing data but also enabling them to unlock its value, Komprise will continue to add capabilities that not only expand on the data management use cases but also help further uncover the value of data.


Read also:
Komprise Raises $12 Million in Series B
General availability of Data Management Grid
2017.02.15 | Press Release | [with our comments]
Start-Up Profile: Komprise, Getting $6 Million Financial Funding
In software using analytics-driven adaptive automation to manage massive data growth transparently across all storage silos
by Jean-Jacques Maleval | 2015.09.29 | News