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Startup Gear6 clinched $10 million in its first major funding round today, as the vendor prepares to bridge the performance gap between servers and storage. (See Gear6 Secures $10M.)

The round, which was led by InterWest Partners and included existing investor U.S. Venture Partners, follows two small seed rounds in 2004 and 2005. The latest cash influx brings the startup's total funding to $14.5 million. It plans to take the wraps off its first products later this year.

"We will continue to put money into R&D, but also bring marketing and sales online in a much more serious way," says Tom Shea, Gear6's CEO. He also expects to grow the vendor's 25-strong workforce over the coming year. At this stage, however, the exec is unwilling to divulge many details of the Gear6 product line.

The startup's offerings, according to the CEO, are designed to address "the widening gap" between servers and disk-based storage systems. In a nutshell, Shea believes server capabilities and CPU power are rapidly eclipsing the ability of mechanical disk drives to deliver data quickly. "Storage just can't keep up with the servers today," he says.

Gear6 intends to eliminate these bottlenecks and maintain application performance between servers and storage. Shea would not confirm whether or not Gear6's technology is hardware or software-based, saying only that "it's a solution that works transparently with the existing products and applications that are in the market."

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