Austin, Texas-based startup CacheIQ announced earlier this week that it has raised $6 million from 27 angel investors for its network file system caching product that offloads data to either DRAM or flash memory. The software, according to the company, “automatically accelerates the active data set, but gives storage teams the ability to optimize network storage performance through simple, yet intelligent policies.” It also includes monitoring tools to give storage administrators deep visibility to identify performance issues. Assuming it can gain a toehold against some established competition, CacheIQ chose a wise market to enter.
The past few weeks along have been rife with flash news, with Violin Memory raising another $35 million in venture capital for its flash-based storage arrays and appliances, and Schooner refocusing its database-on-flash approach on software rather than on physical appliances. Lesser-known companies, such as Dataram, also are getting into the flash mix with appliances that intelligently place data on SSDs for faster access. Increasingly, large vendors are beginning to realize the importance of flash, too, and are equipping their arrays with flash front ends.
In all of this, CacheIQ could stand out because it’s a software-only company that places data in the cache based on user policies rather than requiring users to do so manually. Schooner takes a similar approach to databases, but most vendors pushing flash for enterprise storage couple their software with physical gear, which could turn off IT departments with lean budgets or a preference for particular hardware. If it can build a solid product and customer base, CacheIQ actually could become a target for large storage vendors looking to supplement their physical support for flash storage with a software offering.
If exit via acquisition is the goal, CacheIQ does have experience in its corner. Co-founder and CEO Joel Trammell founded network-monitoring company NetQoS, which CA Technologies bought in 2009 as part of its cloud-computing acquisition spree.
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