The Wall Street Journal recently published a ranking of the top 50 venture-backed companies – and storage got its share.

#2 on the list: Fusion-io, a company StorageMojo has followed from the early days. They’ve closed major deals with IBM, HP, Dell and Samsung. From the WSJ profile:

Fusion-io has a weight-loss program for data-fat Web businesses, and its “storage accelerator” has been embraced by Facebook and MySpace — and a thousand other companies looking to do more with less in a bad economy, co-founder David Flynn says. “Our datacenter uses half the power [and] half the floor space.” . . . It aims to displace storage arrays from the likes of EMC Corp. and competes with flash makers from Micron Technology Inc. to Intel Corp.

#20 is Silver Peak Systems whose appliances accelerate data transfer. From the WSJ profile:

Using proprietary algorithms and the power of multi-core chips, it’s helping customers like Google Inc., AT&T Corp. and Visa Inc. shuttle data between datacenters at a rate of one gig per second, often to backup locations. That’s “a thousand times faster than what was done historically,” says founder David Hughes. . . . He took techniques of “wide-area-network optimization,” used mainly to move data between branch offices, and super-sized for the datacenter. Today, Silver Peak, which has raised $60 million over four rounds, is growing and profitable.

#26 is Metaweb Technologies, whose product, Freebase, is an open database of online information. The big problem with massive data is search – and we’re just at the beginning of the massive data era. From the WSJ profile:

Metaweb . . . rejects freewheeling keywords (Google’s currency), because their multiple meanings can sometimes baffle computers. . . . It’s better, Metaweb believes, to organize information into people, places and things, or what it calls “entities.” . . . After five years of toil, Metaweb and its collaborators have created 12 million entities and mapped how they relate to each other.

#34 is Schooner Information Technology, who builds acceleration appliances for popular software like MySQL. From the WSJ profile:

The machines are also optimized to run the popular free middleware programs MySQL, an open-source database program, and Memcached, a Web site memory-caching system. The approach boosts speed by 10 times, which lets datacenters cut costs in half by dropping server numbers, power use and real estate needs. Appliances for other applications glisten in Schooner’s future. . . . Early customers include Flixster and Plaxo Inc.

#35 is Vidyo, who produces HD-quality video-conferencing apps and services via personal computers. From the WSJ profile:

With a new video-conferencing architecture built on an emerging standard called scalable coding, it can deliver high-quality video without annoying pauses to multiple users via their computers for just cents per minute.

#41 is Force10 Networks, if you can call a company with $200 million in revenue a startup. Their 10Gig Ethernet switches and routers are popular with Internet datacenter folks.

#43 is Akorri Networks whose focus is software for managing virtualized servers and the entire network environment inside large datacenters. Founded by Rich Corley, formerly of Pirus. From the WSJ profile:

Akorri . . . built a management system that both understands virtual machines and helps pros manage datacenters as a single system, rather than as individual components. The tools pinpoint problems quickly so datacenters can better utilize the equipment they have, get competing parts of the system to play better together, and boost overall performance. . . .

The StorageMojo take
Why are those networking companies on a StorageMojo list? Because bandwidth and storage are fungible at about the 80% level. If you have lots of bandwidth you need less local storage – and the reverse is true.

Faster and more abundant data means more storage, local and cloud. What makes this fun is that what “lots” means keeps growing.

When I got my first personal hard drive – 30 whopping MB – I couldn’t imagine ever filling it. Now I ignore 2 GB thumb drives because they’re too small. I routinely generate 5-10 GB files.

I’m ahead of the curve, but not by much. People like moving pictures and sharing. Businesses like understanding their customers. Massive data storage helps us do both.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. I’ve done work for Fusio-io. Learn more with this Video White Paper, my own contribution to our growing storage and bandwidth needs.