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Isilon Lays On $20M Icing

Isilon Systems today announced its fourth, and what execs hope will be its final, round of funding -- $20 million in venture capital involving all existing investors and one new one.

Isilon's "icing" round will go to more R&D and to building the channel, an effort that's already underway with new distributors signed on in Japan and Korea and planned partnerships in China and Europe (see Isilon Expands Sales Channel).

CEO Steve Goldman won't set a profitability date, but he hopes this will be the company's last trip to the VC well: "We view this as the round of capital that gets us to self-sufficiency." Since its 2001 founding, Seattle-based Isilon has already sunk $59.9 million into cultivating specific types of content-laden customers for its Isilon IQ system.

Like a growing roster of young NAS companies ("startups" is a misnomer at this point), Isilon takes aim at key weaknesses of NAS systems from big players like EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP). (See NAS Deals Fall Short.)

In contrast with systems from those suppliers, the Isilon IQ allows data volumes to span multiple physical devices while maintaining a single namespace. It holds file systems up to 168 Tbytes and includes replication, load balancing, and optional InfiniBand links between systems (see Isilon Embraces InfiniBand).

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