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Storage Startup Scores $20M

A tiny startup with a bead on creating high-performance data center networks has scored $20 million in financing to take development to the next level.

Paceline Systems Corp. of Chelmsford, Mass., received the funds from a group of investors led by BancBoston Ventures (see SAN Startup Secures $20M). The startup says it will use the money to develop its product and expand its 30-employee business to 80 employees by year's end.

Paceline's plan is to use InfiniBand, a high-speed I/O technology developed by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and others and finalized as a standard this year, into a method for switching data traffic among servers and storage devices in data centers.

Paceline's product will be a switch that uses InfiniBand to link Web servers together, or to link servers with storage devices like high-performance disk drives. "Our switch could be used as a connector for systems, or, more radically, as a replacement for Fibre Channel or Ethernet in data centers," says John Hanratty, VP of marketing and cofounder.

What's this got to do with optical networking? Plenty. For one thing, optical networks need to be attached to computers that can keep up with their accelerated pace. Without high-speed clustering techniques like InfiniBand, today's Web server farms could choke on emerging high-speed services. And that, in turn, could slow applications such as storage networking -- which are cited by service providers and equipment makers alike as key drivers for business in metro networks (see Storage Networks Supernova).

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