ScaleIO, a startup offering software-defined storage software, raised $12 million in Series A funding from Greylock Israel, Norwest Venture Partners, and undisclosed private investors. The two-year-old startup will use the money to expand the sales and support of its existing software product.
ScaleIO joins other startups that have launched in the latter half of the year hoping to create pools of storage that can be used by any application in a virtualized environment. Those startups include Nutanix and Convergent.io. Fusion-io has a software product in this space as well.
The idea behind this growing number of products is to help address the problems that virtualization has caused for the storage market by making a storage area network (SAN) look more like direct attached storage. In traditional networks someone would configure a server to point to a SAN but these products take advantage of the ever-growing use of SSDs in the data center and overlay software on top to make a more flexible pool of storage. Most of these products, including ScaleIO’s, also let organizations tie in their existing hard disks and SANs into this pool of storage as well.
The result is that IT organizations can take advantage of fast RAM or nearby flash-based SSDs for applications that need a lot of speed. They can also stitch together several nearby SSDs or RAM to scale out as needed while still using existing storage infrastructure comprised of hard drives as well. ScaleIO also touts that its software can move storage resources around even if a node in its pool goes dark like for example, if a systems administrator shuts down the server. That’s a good indication that the team here recognizes that while the virtual servers in a cloud may be ephemeral but underneath it all are physical machines that must be taken into account.
That’s a good understanding to have when you’re building out software that is designed to create an abstraction layer to manage physical devices. ScaleIO’s team has worked at a huge number of scaled-out storage companies including IBM, Topio (acquired by NetApp), NetApp, LSI, and Xtremio (acquired by EMC). The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup already has 24 pilot customers and five customers in production including SAP and Colt (a Fidelity company).