Cloud storage company Cloudian has raised $94 million in a fifth round of equity funding for its distributed file systems and object storage business for enterprise customers. This kind of hybrid cloud and on-premise storage system is great for storing unstructured data, such as video, audio, and digital art assets.

It’s a lot of money, but it’s also part of a big market. The worldwide enterprise storage market grew by 34.4 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2018, reaching over $42 billion in annualized revenue, according to market researcher IDC.

The round includes participation from investors Digital Alpha, Fidelity Eight Roads, Goldman Sachs, INCJ, Japan Post Investment, Lenovo, NTT Docomo Ventures, and WS Investments.

San Mateo, California-based Cloudian will use this investment, which is the largest single round to date for a distributed file systems and object storage provider, to expand its worldwide sales and marketing efforts and increase its engineering team to meet rising demand for its scalable enterprise storage solutions.

Above: Cloudian CEO Michael Tso.

Image Credit: Cloudian

“Cloudian redefines enterprise storage with a global data fabric that integrates both private and public clouds — spanning across sites and around the globe — at an unprecedented scale that creates new opportunities for businesses to derive value from data,” said Cloudian CEO Michael Tso, in a statement. “Cloudian’s unique architecture offers the limitless scalability, simplicity, and cloud integration needed to enable the next generation of computing, driven by advances such as IoT and machine learning technologies.”

Cloudian’s global enterprise storage fabric meets this growing demand with a software-defined storage platform that transforms standard servers and virtual machines into a pool of logical storage resources that can be co-located with data sources and data consumers, whether in physical datacenters, at remote sites, or in the cloud. It’s what people refer to as hybrid cloud storage, as it’s in the cloud, in the datacenter, or on an enterprise’s premises.

Scalable to hundreds of petabytes and beyond, the Cloudian architecture creates a global federation of storage assets to form a hyperscale fabric that eliminates the boundaries of traditional storage, allowing information resources to be transparently pooled and shared over distance.

“Computing now operates without physical boundaries, and customers need storage solutions that also span from the datacenter to the edge,” said Takayuki Inagawa, CEO of NTT Docomo Ventures, in a statement. “Cloudian’s geo-distributed architecture creates a global fabric of storage assets that supports the next generation of connected devices.”

Global businesses in data-intensive verticals such as media, health care, and manufacturing create and consume vast quantities of data at hundreds of locations across the organization. Cloudian meets these distributed storage needs with a peer-to-peer resource fabric and a single management framework that spans Cloudian storage appliances, industry standard X86 servers running Cloudian software, and public cloud storage. The result is simple, efficient data management across the global storage landscape.

Recently added Cloudian customers include public health agencies in the U.S. and U.K., two of the top five Formula One teams, a U.S. national research lab, an online travel market leader, a top three pharmaceutical company, a top three global car maker, a top five European bank, an Ivy League university, and one of the world’s largest global engineering companies.

Above: Cloudian’s place in the storage universe.

Image Credit: Cloudian

“Global 2000 customers in media, automotive, manufacturing, health care, and government look to Cloudian to manage their rapidly growing information assets, a trend that we see only accelerating,” said Edouard Hervey, managing director at Goldman Sachs, in a statement. “We believe Cloudian is well-positioned to dominate the next generation of enterprise storage with its elegantly simple design that integrates both the datacenter and cloud environments.”

Unlike traditional storage solutions, whose architectures were derived from standalone systems that operate within a single datacenter, Cloudian’s architecture was built on cloud technologies that were designed for distributed environments and limitless scale.

The round includes a $25 million investment from Digital Alpha that was first announced in February. To date, the company has raised $173 million.

Cloudian specializes in object storage, which offers hybrid cloud storage both in the cloud and on premises. Object storage allows users to access data from anywhere in the world, whether that storage is in the form of video, images, or other unstructured data. According to Gartner, 80 percent of enterprise data will be stored in some form of object storage by 2021.

Cloudian contends that its on-premise storage solution results in lower costs, more consistently managed security, and compliance with data governance policies.

While traditional storage vendors like NetApp are seeing declining market share, Cloudian contends it is experiencing rapid growth. The company currently has 240 customers, up from 80 at its last funding round in October 2016.

The company has eight offices in the U.S., Asia, and Europe, with a total staff of 165.

Cloudian was used to archive archaic tape storage for Saturday Night Live, which had 40 years of content over 800 episodes, millions of digital assets, and petabytes of data. The tape archive was unmanageable and slow, making it hard to find any data. After transitioning to Cloudian, the show was able to greatly consolidate its storage infrastructure, accommodate continued data growth, and quickly locate any assets needed.

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