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Can Candera Compete?

Startup Candera Inc. today announced an additional $2.5 million of venture funding -- bringing its total funding to date to more than $47 million -- as it gets ready to ship its SAN management switch in the next few months (see Candera Locks $2.5M More Funding).

The latest investment, which the company calls an extension of its second round, came from two Taiwan-based investment firms: AsiaTech Management LLC and Hotung Capital Management Inc. Previous investors in Candera, which changed its name from Confluence Networks last fall, include Venture Strategy Partners, Redpoint Ventures, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Dali Hook Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital, and Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) (see Confluence Changes Name, CEO and Confluence Scoops Up $28M).

CEO Sundi Sundaresh says AsiaTech and Hotung are "strategic investors" that he expects will be able to connect Candera with distributors in China and elsewhere in Asia. "I feel particularly good that we got this funding in a period when venture funding has continued to drop -- and in a space that has been crowded," he says. It was only another $2.5 mil, but heck, that's something.

There's certainly been an uptick in interest, at least among the financial crowd, in SAN management switches (which used to be called "virtualization" devices before that term was discarded as an overused buzzword). Late last year, two startups in this area were acquired: Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) bought Rhapsody Networks; and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) bought Pirus Networks (see Brocade Scoops Up Rhapsody and Sun Beams on Pirus).

Candera's in-band device, like those developed by Pirus and Rhapsody, is designed to provide provisioning, monitoring, and other management features for heterogeneous SAN environments. Other features on tap include provisioning based on service-level agreements (SLAs) as well as charge-back mechanisms. Sundaresh says Candera is still on track to ship sometime in the second quarter, after launching its beta-testing cycle in December 2002.

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