I talked recently with my clients at Kickfire, especially newish CEO Bruce Armstrong. I also visited the Kickfire blog, which among other virtues features a fairly clear overview of Kickfire technology. (I did my own Kickfire overview in October.) Highlights of the current Kickfire story include:
- Kickfire is initially focused on three heavily overlapping markets — network event analysis, the general Web 2.0/clickstream/online marketing analytics area, and MySQL/LAMP data warehousing.
- Kickfire has blogged about a few sales to unnamed customers in those markets.
- I think network management is a market that’s potentially friendly to five-figure-cost appliances. After all, networking equipment is generally sold in appliance form. Kickfire doesn’t dispute this analysis.
- Kickfire’s sales so far are to run databases in the sub-terabyte range, although both Kickfire and its customers intend to run bigger databases soon. (Kickfire describes the range as 300 GB – 1 TB.) Not coincidentally, Kickfire believes that MySQL doesn’t scale very well past 100 GB without a lot of partitioning effort (in the case of data warehouses) or sharding (in the case of OLTP).
- When Bruce became CEO, he let go some sales, marketing, and/or business development folks. He likes to call this a restructuring of Kickfire rather than a reduction-in-force, but anyhow — that’s what happened. There are now about 50 employees, and Kickfire still has most of the $20 million it raised last August in the bank. Edit: The company clarifies that it actually wound up with more sales and marketing people than before.
- Kickfire has thankfully deemphasized various marketing themes I found annoying, such as ascribing great weight to TPC-H benchmarks or explaining why John von Neumann originally made bad choices in his principles of computer design.