Every day my inbox fills with pitches from the latest edge computing startup. Few of those startups can promise a compelling list of paying customers, eight-figure revenue, and profits. But Pixeom, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is one of the few. The company was created in 2013 to build a personal file-sharing device, which launched on Kickstarter in 2014. It has since pivoted.
Now it provides a way to manage computing, storage, and networking resources for applications running at the edge that either need to link back to those running in the cloud, or a way to link edge applications in one place to another location. That other location might be a private data center, or it might be a cluster of servers on the factory floor. Pixeom CEO Sam Nagar says his goal is to disrupt VMware by ending the need for server virtualization and the management of such virtualized servers.
Instead of requiring a virtualized server hooked up to virtualized storage, Pixeom’s software manages a pool of resources that an application needs and lets a variety of containers run on top of that pool. A customer might use the Pixeom software to help manage the flow of memory and compute based on the real-time computing needs of an application, for example.
So in a factory setting where real-time data analytics is important, having vast access to memory and compute to analyze data through a containerized version of data analytics software might make sense. The Pixeom software can run on both small edge devices and on massive servers.
Nagar says that Pixeom customizes its deployments for customers based on their current infrastructure and use case. That means for one customer it might have to integrate on-premise devices running Wind River’s software back up to an application running in the cloud that needs access to the data from the devices running Wind River software. Customization is not unusual in the industrial and enterprise IoT sector, where companies are trying to link older manufacturing and facilities systems with new IT systems.
However, customization limits the ability to scale. These deployments aren’t something a company can simply figure out and then package them up for easy consumption. And that makes building software for the enterprise and industrial edge different from building easily deployed SaaS products, which have dominated the tech world over the last decade.
However, according to Nagar, Pixeom’s contracts with companies comprise multimillion-dollar deals, and the company is already profitable. It also employees 90 people and recently raised $15 million from Intel Capital, Samsung Catalyst Ventures, and National Grid Partners to continue growing the business.