Scale out block storage vendor StorPool makes major move into MSP market

StorPool has customized its software to make it easy for MSPs to build their own highly efficient Tier One storage platform, or to build private clouds for customers that can run mission-critical workloads.

Boyan Ivanov, StorPool’s founder and CEO

Today, StorPool Storage, a Bulgarian scale-out block storage provider with a highly efficient software-defined storage product, has intensified its presence in the MSP market. It is making new tools available which will allow MSPs to build their own highly efficient back-end storage platform, which they expect will be the majority of use cases, or to build private clouds for customers that can run mission-critical workloads.

“We started a little over 10 years ago with the idea to have a storage system that instead of having a box, would be one of the latest generation products in terms of architecture,” said Boyan Ivanov, StorPool’s founder and CEO. “It would replace million-dollar Tier One boxes with software on standard x86 servers.” StorPool, as their name indicates, pools the storage on these servers to create a single shared block storage pool.

Scale out block storage has been around for years, but still has not really hit the big time, with some of the original market entrants still around but others having disappeared through acquisition or failure.

“We are still in the early days of companies adopting software-defined storage at a larger scale,” Ivanov said. “Today, we see better interest in software storage. The public cloud is also now a bit shy of 50% of dollars spent on IT infrastructure. Both of these streams are growing at the expense of Fiber Channel and mainframes and big storage.”

Ivanov said that StorPool’s distinction in the market comes down to capabilities.

“We are looking to be the best in class product, and we have invested heavily in development and engineering to achieve that, so we easily outperform competitor solutions,” Ivanov stated. “We have a very scalable platform, which can manage very complex workloads, and a full managed service which is unique on the market.” It is sold as software, plus a fully managed data storage service.

The enhanced offerings for MSPs are an extrapolation of StorPool’s traditional market focus.

“Our background has been in service providers,” Ivanov said. “It’s in the DNA of the company. It includes all types of service providers – larger, mid-tier and smaller. We also sell to a lot of infrastructure and SaaS companies, and are getting more global 2000, but our market is still mainly service providers in all shapes and forms.”

StorPool tends to get into new customers on a project basis.

“We get in any way we can,” Ivanov remarked. “The big vendors often have long standing relationships with enterprises, so its tough to get in directly. Sometimes it’s a specific team that has an issue with something, where hey aren’t getting performance, and we start working on a specific project. It’s very rarely rip and replace.”

StorPool has largely sold direct in the past, although they do have a channel and expect that the move into the MSP market will grow that,

“While we have been mostly direct, we have begun to implement a channel” Ivanov said. “Many partners in the early days of software-defined storage would be interested initially, but would drop off. We started with a small-scale channel program but have just a few of these partners.

A few are in Canada.

“Canada has a couple of hosting companies using us,” Ivanov noted. “We haven’t had a lot of visibility, and haven’t done a lot of events. If someone is interested there, they should chat with us.”

The new MSP initiative which providers tools and resources for MSPs to build efficient cloud platforms is targeted at MSPs using their own cloud infrastructures to serve Tier 1 primary workloads to their end customers. While the expectation is that most of the MSPs who buy StorPool will be using it for their back end, the hope – backed up by some positive early data – is that usage will be broader than this.

“A lot of value is among people with large-scale demanding workloads,” Ivanov said. “MSPs became users because they have very large deployments. Those that use us have a higher margin business and have demand for what we have built. They are also becoming a channel for us. We expect that 80% will be sold for their back-end purposes, but an increasing number of entities will deploy us as a private cloud. That’s increasingly becoming a deployment scenario.”