Stratoscale targets test-dev market with launch of software-defined architecture

The hyperconverged startup emphasizes the end product, a highly scalable out-of-the-box private cloud initially focused on development and testing environments, rather than the hyperconverged label itself, which they think has been somewhat overused.


Michael Richards, Director of Channels at Stratoscale

Today, startup Stratoscale is formally announcing Stratoscale Symphony, its flagship product which makes a hyperconverged solution which leverages a single software stack across the cloud.

Stratoscale, whose U.S. offices are in Marlborough MA, and whose main offices and R&D facilities are in Israel, came out of stealth a year ago, when they announced a $32 million Series B round of funding. The two cofounders, Ariel Maislos (the CEO) and Etay Bogner (the CTO) have both founded and sold multiple tech companies.

Stratoscale Symphony was originally intended to be launched in the summer, a goal that the company didn’t quite make.

“We ended up launching it in the fall, a couple of months ago, with customers and partners on board,” said Michael Richards, Director of Channels at Stratoscale. “It took a while for marketing to catch up, and it is only now being formally announced.”

Stratoscale is unusual in the hyperconverged space in that it is not front and centre in their branding. Instead they stress that they integrate a software-defined data center (SDDC) solution that leverages all parts of the software stack to transform the data center into a cloud. The hyperconverged architecture is something that they emphasize that they leverage, rather than being the end solution in itself. Similarly, while the solution leverages OpenStack open source cloud software, without being an OpenStack distribution, they are now de-emphasizing that as well.

“Our goal is to emphasize the flexibility of the solution, with the architectural benefit of hyperconverged,” Richards said. “While we use OpenStack APIs, most end users find OpenStack to be confusing or difficult to deploy. In terms of the hyperconverged term, we found there is a lot of muddled information about the term, because some vendors toss it around to get funding. We also found that it gets us into a feature function comparison with other hyperconverged vendors, when what we want to emphasize is the suitability of our solution for its primary use case.”

That use case is test/dev environments in a private cloud.

“We are making it very clear that this is the use case we are targeting,” Richards said. “Instead of having conversation about hyperconverged, we are talking about easily putting together a private cloud and using hyperconverged to get you there. This is very much for a testing and development private cloud environment, rather than for production environments.”

Longer term, they would like to expand beyond that.

“Short-term, we see the dev/test private cloud as our primary entry into the market,” Richards said. “As end users become more comfortable with non-traditional virtualization software, we see an opportunity to expand into legacy IT.”

Stratoscale Symphony is hardware agnostic, and lets a SDDC be built in minutes, scaling from three to hundreds of nodes. Their hypervisor is a modified version of KVM integrated with their own IP.

“We have a single product that manages the whole stack – storage, compute and hypervisor – which leads to a denser solution,” Richards said.

Storage Symphony is sold on a subscription basis, and through a 100 per cent channel model.

“We have under a dozen signed partners now, but have sales engagements with several more,” Richards said. “We aren’t doing certification out of the gate, because we want to focus on helping partners with opportunities. We do have direct sales activity and marketing events, and follow up leads, but everything actually goes through partners.” At this stage, Stratoscale typically accompanies partners on their sales calls.

Richards said their presence in Canada is limited at this point, but that will change going forward.

“In 2016, we will be expanding above the border, with both Canadian sales people and Canadian partners,” he said.