DataCore adds object storage to its software-defined portfolio with Caringo acquisition

DataCore thinks lack of commitment to a 100% channel vision was a major flaw in Caringo’s strategy, and that DataCore’s cadre of committed channel partners will benefit by being able to offer a software-defined object store option to fit specific use cases.

DataCore Software has announced the acquisition of fellow software-defined storage vendor Caringo, which was founded in 2005 and which became one of the software-defined pioneers in object storage. The addition of this object storage capability to DataCore’s existing block and file offerings rounds out their software-defined portfolio, and will allow their channel partners to offer customers the type of storage that best fits their needs.

As both companies are privately owned, terms of the deal were not disclosed. It’s unlikely however, that DataCore got Caringo at a fire sale price. Unlike, say Igneous, which effectively collapsed before Rubrik picked up the pieces in December, Caringo continued to run its business, and recently launched the V12 of their core Swam product. They had clearly not been doing well, however, which DataCore thinks was largely the result of their go-to-market strategy, which was hybrid with a very strong direct side.

“They were trying to sell mainly direct,” said Gerardo Dada, DataCore’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We think that the direct strategy had more to do with their issues than the fact that 2020 was generally not a good year for storage vendors. They did not see the growth that some other object storage vendors saw, and we think this was a reason. We also think that this may have made some other potential buyers nervous. The product itself is a good product, mature and full of features. Caringo was originally content attached storage, used for things for compliance, and they evolved their technology to become software-defined object storage. They did a good job of modernizing themselves. One of the largest health systems uses Swarm to store medical records. Media companies use them to store movies.”

Dada emphasized that DataCore believes a channel-centric strategy is critical for success in storage today, which gives them a core asset that Caringo didn’t have.

“We are very strong believers in the channel, and sell 100% through the channel, because customers increasingly need the advice of their VARs as complexity and options both increase,” he said. “We have been profitable for a decade, unlike many companies who have never turned a profit, and we have great backing from Insight Partners. I think the Caringo team saw those things as well.”

Caringo’s Swarm object storage strategy fits in perfectly with DataCore’s vision, which Dada said has always been about having block, file and object storage together.

“Swarm is very well aligned with our software-defined storage strategy,” he said. “Our legacy SANsymphony has always covered block storage, and a year ago we announced VFilo for file storage., Caringo’s object storage completes the story with object, and gives partners the ability to offer the right solution. We aren’t just buying it for the technology. It fits very well with our vision as a company.”

Dada noted that while DataCore developed their own file storage offering, they weren’t trying to develop their own object storage product.

“Object store on-prem is by far the most efficient way, cost-wise, of storing data,” he said. “It’s really for deployments of 100 TB of data and more, so it’s not an SMB product. But it is a third what Amazon S3 costs.”

Caringo will exist going forward as the object store brand within DataCore.

“Swarm will continue to be sold as a separate product, sold by the same team as now, working with partners,” Dada said. “We’ve seen a lot of our partners become service providers, and we will offer them the ability to get one license for all – block file or object. It’s attractive to have one company to deal with.”

The future of Caringo’s other products is less certain, in most cases.

“SwarmFS, which does NFS data streaming, will likely remain,” Dada said. “Caringo Drive, their virtual drive, isn’t very strategic, but we will work with customers to see if they think it has value They have a data mover product  [FileFly] where we also have a product, so it is unlikely that we  will continue to develop that. The Swarm FS interface is likely the only one which we will lead with.”

Caringo CEO Tony Barbagallo will remain as an advisor, but will not join DataCore as an employee. About 90% of the employees are coming over, from engineering, sales and product support.

Dada stressed however, that DataCore’s channel, which he said relied on a couple dozen partners who actively sell their solutions, will be the key to developing the potential of the Caringo products.

“It’s one thing to list partners and another thing entirely to have those who are committed to the brand,” he said. “We have channel relationships with people who lead with us. Caringo’s channel relationships were not as deep in that way. We think it will take a matter of months, certainly less than a year, to onboard their partners. There are a handful of partners who already sell products of both companies.

“We hope this makes DataCore more attractive for anyone who is serious about storage – and who sees that the future is software defined,” Dada concluded. “DataCore now has best of breed offerings in file, block and object. We are in a good position, with three products to solve three very different problems.”

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