Good ideas can still get funded, however, and VCs still seem to flock to the latest hottest thing, like the cloud. And there are plenty of strong prospects out there, some of whom might exert a significant impact on the IT landscape.
"It's been a relatively lean year for storage startups quantitatively, but there are a few that seem to be doing some pretty interesting things," said Mike Karp, an analyst at Ptak/Noel.
So here are 10 data storage startups worthy of note:
1. Fusion-ioThis company has been a darling of the solid state drive (SSD) market for some time, thanks in no small part to the addition of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as chief scientist. The company just secured another $45 million in its third round of financing, a clear indication that its flash-based PCIe cards are a hit.
2. Violin MemoryViolin Memory may not have the profile of Fusion-io, but it has quietly gathered $33 million in backing, including funding from Toshiba, FalconStor and IBM. It offers flash-based appliances that can scale to tens of terabytes and millions of IOPS per second.
Karp notes that both Fusion-io and Violin Memory play in the very hot area of solid-state devices, although at different ends of the market.
"Their timing is very good for rolling out solid-state products, because the marketplace has evolved to the point where companies understand that this is not just expensive fast storage, but rather, when used properly, a solid-state device can be extremely cost-effective despite the price," said Karp. "Violin Memory offers a very fast rebuild time should one of its solid-state arrays die, which can be hugely advantageous for storage supporting key business processes."
3. AtmailAtmail is an interesting storage startup from Australia that provides "Webmail" appliances. Karp said Webmail seems to be an increasingly attractive alternative to the expense of running Outlook clients.
"What's held Webmail back in the past has been the clunky Webmail interface, but Atmail is improving on that and currently claims over 16 million mailboxes under management, which is no small feat," said Karp. "Almost all its business has been outside the U.S. until recently."
Read the rest at Enterprise Storage Forum.