WekaIO launches first partner program to scale out high-perfomance parallel file system business

WekaIO, which today is also announcing a first-place finish for performance in the IO-500 Challenge, is looking to its new program’s enablement resources to drive partner expansion in specific verticals.

Charla Bunton-Johnson, Global Director of Partner and Field Marketing, WekaIO

Campbell CA-based WekaIO, which goes to market entirely through channel partners, is looking to expand both their channel and its efficiency through the launch of their first channel program. The company, which launched in 2017, just won a first-place ranking on the IO-500 Challenge, for performance by storage systems that work in tandem with large supercomputers. It’s another sign of strong momentum.

“We just completed our Series C funding round in May, led by our strategic investors like HPE, Mellanox and NVIDIA, in addition to VCs,” said Matt Miller, Director of Product Marketing at WekaIO. “We think this investment from our technology partners is extremely significant.”

WekaIO makes a parallel scale- out file storage solution for data-intensive applications with high-performance challenges, both on-prem and in the cloud. Storage performance is a critical factor for large-scale simulation, big data analysis, and AI. WekaIO’s POSIX-compliant file system leverages a highly-optimized software stack that uses modern architectures like  low-latency NVMe-oF and massively distributed metadata to accelerate data to technical computing GPU resources at extreme speeds.

Matt Miller, Director of Product Marketing, WekaIO

“We address a storage bottleneck in which GPUs demand 10x more IO than storage can deliver,” Miller said. “Our stack solves this problem. Today, we are announcing that we have won the Virtual Institute’s IO-500 Challenge for supercomputing benchmark.” The new record on the IO-500 benchmark had an overall number of 938.949—51% better performance than the prior record set at International Supercomputing Conference 2019. Miller also noted that this record was set on the AWS cloud, indicating high-performance computing in the cloud can compete with advanced on-prem supercomputer clusters.

“Our claim of the world’s fastest file system is still intact,” Miller said. “We are 10x faster than legacy NAS with NFS protocol, and 3x faster than even SSD local storage.”

Weka-IO already has a sizeable channel given that it has only been out of stealth for two years. The company is up to 65 partners globally, concentrated in North America and Europe, Asia Pacific is on the road map for next year.  The existing channel includes OEM partners like Dell, HPE, Penguin Computing and SuperMicro and object storage Cloud Service Provider partners like AWS.

“This is why I came in from NVIDIA,” said Charla Bunton-Johnson, Global Director of Partner and Field Marketing at WekaIO. “We already have a world-class ecosystem, but this is the right time to build a partner program to scale the business.”

Accordingly, the company is launching the WekaIO Innovation Network [WIN], their first global partner program.  It gives partners access to their flagship platform, the Weka File System [WekaFS].

“WekaFS is a much more modern approach to storage,” Bunton-Johnson said. “The file systems, rather than the big storage OEMs, are really our main competitors.”

The WIN program is divided into four tiers. The Innovator Tier is for the OEMs. The entry level, Catalyst, is for referral business. The Accelerator tier is WekaIO’s equivalent of the Gold tier, and the Leader is the equivalent of Platinum.

“The Leader tier is by invite only, and requires an established AI or machine learning practice and a steady record,” Bunton-Johnson said. “Accelerator partners are the ones which are still growing. But they also tend to be the go-getters, and bring in more deals.”

All the WIN partner tiers have access to the online partner portal, and its sales tools, training, turn-key campaigns, and deal registration. As is typical in such things, some key benefits are reserved for the top tiers. The OEM Innovator and the Accelerator tiers are eligible for NDF funds to assist with demand generation activities and field events. These partners also have access to WekaIO’s technical support team.

“Margins are high, and provide a recurring revenue stream with our subscription-based pricing model,” Bunton-Johnson said. “Today there is training, but competencies are not yet in place. That’s the vision for next year, coming out with these competencies that align with specific verticals. We are in the midst of a huge reference architecture buildout, profiling specializations in verticals to align with our Go-to-Market.

Bunton-Johnson noted that Denver based WekaIO’s partner ecosystem is considerably stronger on the west coast.

“We are looking to beef up our team in the central and east regions,” she said. “We have a 100% channel model and all deals go through the channel.”