A huge win for all
Hats off to the founders, AB and Hitesh, for a unique product vision and superb technical execution. Congratulations on a great outcome to Ben Golub and the entire Gluster team in Bangalore and Mountain View!
We came across Gluster in October 2008 following an introduction by Nexus Venture Partners . The company developed GlusterFS, an open source clustered file system enabling efficient storage of large amounts of unstructured data across distributed nodes. Gluster’s innovative architecture removed the need for centralized metadata, leading to remarkable performance even as data volumes grew into the PetaBytes. Early customers and users raved about the product and Index made a $1 million investment from our seed fund.
The next stage was about building a business and extending the product. Gluster assembled a top-notch R&D team in Bangalore and needed management talent in the bay area. We launched a search with Lee Schweichler looking for a CEO able to develop a cloud-focused strategy combined with low-friction go-to-market. Ben Golub joined in March 2010 and did an amazing job, rapidly building the successful team including Lori Budin, Mike Backlund, Dave Garnett, John Kreisa and many other talented individuals. Rob Bearden, whom I got to know with Pentaho, also joined the board.
Strong market position
The product evolved into a fully-fledged enterprise-grade storage platform packaged into Amazon machine images (AMI) and virtual appliances for RightScale and VMware, ready to be deployed in the cloud or on premise. With organizations needing to store explosive amounts of data in a cost-effective and manageable way, Gluster’s customer count rose rapidly. Index pre-empted rising interest in the venture community and led an $8.5 million round in October 2010.
Red Hat is a perfect home for Gluster. The acquisition will come as no surprise given Red Hat’s increasingly active role in cloud. Red Hat started with the acquisition of KVM in 2008 and accelerated lately with OpenShift and CloudForms. Congratulations to Red Hat as well on a superb move!
Index and open source
Open source software underlies much of the cloud’s infrastructure. Index has been a leading open source investor with exits such as TrollTech (Nokia), MySQL (Sun/Oracle), Dimdim (Salesforce), Cloud.com (Citrix) and thriving companies such as OpenX, Pentaho or Zend. We will continue to back innovative companies at the intersection of open source and cloud.