The angels who wrote the first check to Google-backed startup IO Turbine, which comes out of stealth mode Tuesday with details about its backers, its founders and its planned product for speeding up I/O bottlenecks on virtualized servers. Since its founding in 2009, the San Jose, Calif.-based company has raised $8.25 million in two rounds of capital from investors that include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Merus Capital, and Google’s first backers – Andy Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton – according to Victoria Koepnick, a marketing manager at the company.
The company doesn’t plan to release its product yet, but Bruce Clarke, IO Turbine’s VP of technical marketing and support, said the startup has developed software that enables a vendor to attach a solid state drive to a virtual machine to help speed up the IO between the virtual machines residing on the host. The software helps solve a problem in software that several vendors — such as Xsigo, Brocade and even Cisco — have developed hardware to handle. When a server is virtualized and contains many virtual machines, allocating resources between the different VMs becomes convoluted and problematic. I explained some of the issue in detail in a GigaOM Pro piece I wrote in 2009 about virtualization and networking (sub req’d).
The IO Turbine founders hope that by offering software (currently planned to launch first for Windows-based virtual machines) that will help speed up the IO on virtualized servers aimed at the enterprise, the startup can tap into a huge opportunity. For example, databases are typically better off on dedicated servers instead of virtualized machines, because they require fast IO. With Turbine IO’s software, that could change, although we’ll have to wait until the launch for more details on the product.
However, it does have a nice pedigree in its backers and advisors, which include VMware’s Principal Engineer Mike Nelson and NetApp’s Chief Scientist Steven Kleiman. Rich Boberg and Vikram Joshi are the startups co-founders. Boberg, who serves as IO Turbine’s CEO, was the sixth employee at NetApp, where he held executive positions in marketing, corporate development and engineering, and Joshi is the company’s CTO. Joshi worked at Oracle on technology that now forms the foundation of the Exadata database appliance product. IO Turbine has the names, it has money; so now we just need to see if it can deliver on its product.