By Reza Malekzadeh, General Partner at Partech
Three years ago, we invested in OpenIO, a young French company which was already promising; and which we thought would “play a key role in solving the data storage challenges of the future” (see my blogpost at that time). Today, the company exits the Partech portfolio to join OVHcloud, we could not have imagined a better exit for them and for the French Tech ecosystem in general.
I first met the team as they were visiting the US for an OpenStack Summit back in 2016 and then again as they participated in the Business France Impact program. They made quite an impression with a rather technical presentation but shared such that even a marketing person like me could get it 😊
As a reminder: what does OpenIO do?
In a world where an unprecedented volume of data is collected, there is a real need for new infrastructure capable of handling the enormous volumes of data produced each day. This is where OpenIO comes in: they offer an innovative software-defined object store that builds hyper-scalable, on-premises infrastructures.
With their solution, data is neither stored on the cloud (too much bandwidth is required for analysis) nor stored via the first generation of cloud computing (very hardware-based and very costly). The OpenIO solution takes the best of the two worlds: instead of sending all the data to a data center site far from the endpoint, OpenIO stores and analyzes most data close to the point-of-collection device. This computing model, Fog computing, allows compute at the edge of the cloud. Because it doesn’t need to send all the data to a centralized data center, fog computing reduces data management time and improves quality of service.
Consequently, with OpenIO, you can easily store, manage, protect and access your data.
OpenIO’s journey through the cloud
When we invested in the company, the total addressable market was projected to reach $4.95 billion and OpenIO had a handful of paying customers including Dailymotion, the European leader in user-generated and premium video content. Dailymotion chose a small startup which had previously never raised any funds to replace the incumbent EMC and that was a first testiment to the incredible technological talent the OpenIO team had.
And they kept building on that expertise, bringing new innovation to the market through both their work and new partnerships:
- In 2018, OpenIO devised its own serverless computing framework to add functionality to its SDS object storage software.
- In April 2019, the OpenIO storage technology was integrated in the Beezim offer, with the Zimbra collaborative messaging platform, thus creating a collaborative open source messaging.
And things kept kicking in higher gear as last October, they announced a record performance achievement working with Criteo: they deployed their technology on a cluster of more than 350 physical servers and crossed the symbolic threshold of writing up to one terabit of data per second. This high performance achieved on Criteo machines in production conditions confirmed the robust design of the OpenIO object storage software for new data uses, in particular the massive exploitation of data by AI algorithms on Big Data / HPC clusters.
Of course, this was not just about technology, they also kept adding customers to their achievements! For example:
- The CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) improves power efficiency of active archiving in its HPC center with OpenIO on an ARM.
- Vade Secure deployed its solutions on premises and as SaaS, and these services require scalability and multitenancy with no compromises on performance and data availability.
- RELEX Solutions provides supply chain management SaaS solutions for the retail industry and takes advantage of OpenIO to simplify its backup infrastructure.
I recall visiting one of those customers with Laurent the CEO, Canal Plus. It was a pleasure to see how this deep tech startup could help such a large customer with their data problems.
All in all, in the space of a few years, OpenIO distinguished itself by designing the new generation of S3-compatible Object Storage solutions, the best adapted to Big Data and High Performance Computing workloads. As such, the OpenIO solution is ideal for the storage of the large amounts of data required for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.
The acquisition by European leader OVHcloud
Today, OVHcloud, the European leader of private cloud, announced that it has acquired OpenIO.
This acquisition will enable the continuous development of the OpenIO object storage technology, and the launch of innovative products with a much stronger striking force. OpenIO’s technology combined with OVHCloud’s industrial and cloud infrastructure expertise will enable the design of a very large-scale object storage offer at the best price/performance ratio. Besides, long-time partners OpenIO and OVHcloud share a tech culture committed to open source and have the same passion for innovative projects.
We are immensely pleased to see OpenIO, a French startup, being acquired by OVH, a large French and European tech player. This is all the more important as it demonstrates that the French tech ecosystem is maturing. The European leader OVHcloud, which has 1.5 million customers in more than 130 countries, is contributing to building something big, bigger that itself: a strong French and European Tech ecosystem, strong enough to compete with players from all over the world. It is progressing on its path to continuous innovation via tech acquisitions and all the while boosting the French Tech ecosystem.
France and the French Tech ecosystems has entrepreneurs, talent, technology, funding and now more and more exits — all the ingredients for building and sustaining a mature technology ecosystem that can fuel the economy through job and value creation.
Octave Klaba said in a blopost that the European model of tech giants does not exist yet. Maybe not, but it’s clearly in the making!
Our hearty congratulations to Laurent Denel (CEO), Jean-François Smigielski (CTO), Guillaume Delaporte (VP Sales & Customer Success), Romain Acciari, and the whole team! Keep building, innovating and bringing your product to more and more customers under a new flag!