San Jose startup Cirtas Systems, which only exited stealth mode in September, has a new CEO and raised an additional $22.5 million to advance its vision of helping enterprise customers store primary data in the cloud. The funding, which came from Shasta Ventures, Bessemer Ventures Partners, NEA, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon, brings Cirtas’s total to $32.5 million. I predicted big things for Cirtas a few months ago, in part because it’s riding a hot trend of making cloud storage more palatable via on-premise appliances feeding data to public storage clouds on the back end.
Writing in October about well-funded cloud startups, I noted that:
I suspect public-cloud-based startups will start getting a lot more money, provided they maintain an enterprise focus. Organizations are getting more comfortable moving certain workloads to the cloud, and cloud storage vendors like Nasuni and Cirtas have strong products.
This prediction has been accurate thus far. I had the opportunity to further explain their products upon covering Nasuni’s $15 million second round in December:
Nasuni’s virtual appliance form factor and file-system focus help distinguish it from other startups that have launched in the past several months, but the idea of a local appliance controlling data placement between local servers and the cloud is catching on. Cirtas and StorSimple, for example, sell physical appliances that send data to the cloud … but keep certain info local via built-in cache capacity. Both virtual and physical appliances have their benefits – virtual appliances are quickly downloadable and relatively inexpensive, whereas physical appliances offer better performance.
The promise of this approach is just too strong, as it solves issues of scalability and disaster recovery while still keeping hot data in-house for better performance. Customers can store data in the cloud without ever really interacting with the backend cloud storage providers, at the same time eliminating the need to perform backups. As new Cirtas (and former Netli) CEO Gary Messiana explained to me, enterprise storage is a huge market, and cloud computing is the way of the future, and products that let businesses utilize cloud storage while still maintaining control over the process and the decision of where to store are going to be very successful.
While Cirtas is advancing its enterprise goals, Nasuni is keeping busy on the SMB front. Last week, the company released its Data Migration Service, which eases the process of migrating large volumes of data to the cloud by closely monitoring and tracking what has been uploaded. It won’t make the process take any less time — physically sending your hard drive to a cloud provider is the only real way to do that — but it will ensure that customers don’t have to start over if something goes wrong.
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