PernixData gets a $35M funding boost in Flash storage race

lightning-378069_640Flash virtualization startup PernixData has grabbed another $35 million in series C funding. It’s yet another big bet on the impending disruption in enterprise storage as technology moves towards cloud services and virtualization.

What differentiates PernixData from other storage startups is its ability to pool and virtualize high-speed storage like RAM and Flash into individual clusters. This allows for faster allocation of those resources, even if they reside in different physical locations.

The advantage for customers is that they don’t need to shell out for a ton of flash drives to boost capacity and performance. PernixData allows them to utilize lower-cost hardware to store data that doesn’t need fast access, while higher-priority and more resource-intensive data can be stored in the clusters.

PernixData’s offering only supports VMware’s hypervisor at the moment. But Poojan Kumar, PernixData’s CEO and co-founder, said the company wants to offer its software “globally to all virtualized data centers”. That statement suggests the company could start looking to add other virtualization technologies into its mix, including Microsoft’s Hyper-V and the open-source KVM hypervisors.

The company has made some big claims about its software’s performance. According to Kumar, T-Mobile managed to improve its SQL query times fourfold, while Bank of the West was able to reduce storage latency eightfold.

Virtualization storage is an area that’s had lots of money thrown at it in recent months as organizations switch to flash to store and serve data faster than is possible with traditional disk storage. EMC was one of the first to hedge its bets with its acquisition of ScaleIO, while more recently SanDisk pounced on Fusion-io to get ahold of its PCI Express (PCIe) technology that can boost data transfer speeds and overall performance.

“The players in the storage market understand there’s one potentially lucrative market there, and that all surrounds the cloud and the hyperscale side of the market,” said TrendFocus analyst John Kim, in the wake of Fusion-IO’s acquisition. “Everyone’s chasing the business.”

This latest funding round was led by Menlo Ventures, with’s CEO Marc Benioff, Seagate chief executive Steve Luczo, Silver Lake’s Jim Davidson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lane Bess, Mark Leslie, and John Thompson also participating.

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