One of the best benefits of this job is that I get to meet with very early-stage companies and work with them as they go to market and mature. Avere is one of those companies that I've been working with since it was a glimmer in CEO Ron Bianchini's eye. I recently had the good fortune to catch up with my friends there.
I like the Avere technology (and team) a lot, so it's exciting for me to see how far the company has progressed. And it has progressed further than I had realized.
For instance, and this is one of my favorite ways storage technology impacts our lives, storage developments have helped special effects companies dazzle us on the big screen — many of these special effects could not have been created without the throughput enabled by scale-out storage technology. Avere technology was used to help create those special effects in every single one of the top 20 grossing movies of 2015. I'd say the Force was with Avere last year.
While Avere's most significant progress is in media and entertainment, there are some similar applications in other industries — the team tells me it is in two of the top five biotech firms in genomic sequencing, three of the top six oil and gas supermajors, and a number of content heavy government organizations (CDC, NASA, and the Library of Congress for example). These are just a few of the examples of industries where Avere has seen success, and they are pretty impressive.
But you likely haven't heard of Avere unless you are an industry insider. And I guess that asks the question: if the tech is so cool, how come you haven't heard of them? That's because Avere has something that many newer companies lack. Focus. It has a solution that is broadly applicable, but rather than trying to solve world hunger and address a use case that the big kahuna storage companies focus on, the company focused on a specific problem within specific industries. In other words, it didn't get drawn in to market hype around what could be (broad horizontal use cases), it focused on what is (vertical use cases with a specific problem: data-choked, content-heavy apps).
Steve Duplessie recently put it well in a blog post on the security market: "eliminate the noise. I'd rather be in a niche that is understood than a blue ocean that isn't." And while storage is actually quite well understood, the market is mature and dominated by a few vendors (though we are certainly starting to see some change there, it is a long slow road).
Focusing on a blue ocean in a mature market can be (and has been) a death knell for many in the tech world, it is really tempting to hunt whales in a blue ocean, so I commend the team at Avere for its focus. That focus is exactly why Avere has such impressive penetration in these markets.