Data is changing. It floods into organizations with a volume and velocity previously unseen in enterprise IT. However, transforming that data into business-impacting insights stresses even the most sophisticated of today’s storage systems – storage systems based on an architecture that has remained relatively unchanged for more than two decades.
VAST Data emerged less than five years ago with the mission to fully exploit the potential of recent advances in storage technology to disrupt how the world thinks of storage architecture. The company, led by founder and CEO Renen Hallack, executed that vision. The company has delivered a product to market that has found broad success, and it’s given VAST a set of business metrics that any company would envy.
Today, VAST Data released statistics describing its momentum in the industry and teased a future that involves more than storage. This is a company that is not shy about its success or aspirations. So let's look at what VAST Data did in 2021.
Before looking at the momentum numbers that VAST Data published, it's important to remember that it is only five years old. It was founded in 2016 and delivered its first product in two years. VAST achieved an annual software sales run-rate of over $300 million less than three years later.
The success has paid off. VAST closed its latest funding round in May 2021, with about $3.7 billion post-money valuation. It's been a long time since we've seen a unicorn in the infrastructure space emerge so quickly.
VAST Data more than doubled its customer base in 2021. VAST grew its roster by more than 25% in just the last quarter alone. These aren't small deals. VAST says that its average deal size is approximately $1 million. It also has several customers with over $10 million invested.
Those numbers make sense when considering that the average VAST customer manages approximately 12 petabytes of data with VAST's technology. VAST has one customer who handles over 240 petabytes of storage. I'd be willing to bet there isn't another storage company outside of the mainframe sector that has similar capacity numbers.
These are happy customers if you judge customer satisfaction by repeat business. VAST Data's customer net retention revenue (the amount of money an existing customer brings into the coffers) is an astonishing 300%. VAST's customers show their respect in other ways as well. In the latest Gartner Peer Insights report, which tracks anonymous customer reviews, VAST achieved the highest customer recommendation, with 100% of reviews saying they would recommend Universal Storage.
It's All About the AI
VAST Data has found success across a range of verticals, from quantitative analysis to life sciences, and a dozen others in between. What each of these workloads have in common is that time-to-insight from the data directly impacts the bottom line of the organization. You need storage that can keep up with your analytics systems.
AI has invaded the enterprise. According to ARK Invest, the market for data platforms for deep learning is expected to grow at a 102% CAGR between now and 2025, becoming a $280 billion market by 2030. VAST excels in that space today and wants to grow with it.
VAST highlighted this core piece of its strategy within its momentum announcement today. The company pointed out that its next generation all-flash data platform that addresses the challenges and compromises of scale, performance, efficiency and cost, to better meet the demands of today’s data-deluged and AI-powered enterprises in a new era of machine intelligence.
VAST isn't satisfied simply by disrupting the storage industry. It aspires to do far more. It's not an accident that VAST calls itself a "data" company and not a "storage" company. VAST is relentlessly focused on the idea that the ultimate value of bits on a disk is really the value of the data that it represents. It's managing this data that VAST is building its future around, making VAST more of an infrastructure company.
I can't say exactly where VAST Data is heading or its strategic vision. However, I can say that the company likes to paint a picture that extends beyond storage. I asked Jeff Denworth, VAST's CMO and one of its co-founders, about this on the latest DataCentricpodcast from Moor Insights & Strategy. He said only that VAST Data viewed storage as the base for the company’s ultimate direction.
I tried and failed to get him to say more. He did tell us to keep paying attention. VAST will be giving a glimpse into a more exciting future very soon. I’m not sure what could be more interesting than what they’re doing, but I’m anxious to find out.
The Analyst Take
Regardless of which metric you choose to look at, VAST demonstrates success. It has proven its technology across industries, becoming a critical element of some of the most demanding data environments in the world. It has demonstrated its business success. It has articulated a vision that resonates. VAST delivers all of this with a white-glove experience which places customer experience above all else.
Choosing a vendor to trust with your most critical data is challenging. In an era of deep-learning and AI-driven analytics, where the time-to-insight from your data is tied directly to your company’s success, your data infrastructure needs to be up to the challenge. VAST Data has proven itself in the most demanding of data-rich environments. It truly is a data platform company for the AI era.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article