Parascale Picks Up $11M for Cloud Storage

Startup clinches Series A funding and re-brands its virtualization technology

June 24, 2008

3 Min Read
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Software startup Parascale has grabbed $11.37 million in Series A funding to as it prepares to leap into cloud storage.

The funding, which involved Charles River Ventures and Menlo Ventures, underlines the growing momentum behind cloud services, which let users store and access data via the Internet.

The vendor's CEO Sajai Krishan told Byte and Switch that todays cash influx will be used to add the finishing touches to the vendor’s Parascale Cloud Storage (PCS) software, but would not say precisely when this will be released.

“We’re going to be announcing a product and signing up customers in the coming months,” he says. “We’re not calling out a launch date – [but] his [funding] is to market it and go through extensive testing.”

The Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor uses Linux-based servers to create a massive "file grid" comprising one virtual file system -- or more, depending on the application.Aimed at service providers looking to offer cloud services, as well as rich media companies, PCS is the latest incarnation of Parascale’s virtualization technology.

The vendor first started talking about its Virtual Storage Network (VSN) last year, touting the ability to link individual Linux file servers and SATA storage from the likes of Dell, HP, or IBM. The VSN "file grids" can support multiple Pbytes without relying on specific hardware, according to Parascale, though this has now been re-branded as PCS.

“The [storage] community has sort of gotten around the technology of cloud storage,” explains Krishnan. “Anything around virtualization tends to be confusing, what with all the marketing from VMware, Xen, and Microsoft.”

The former NetApp exec explained that a chunk of the Series A money will be devoted to developing automated management for PCS, something which he claims is crucially important to users.

“We’re allowing you to take lots of generic Linux servers,” he says. “As you add these boxes into the storage cloud, typically there’s a lot of effort involved for systems administrators managing those appliances.”Cloud storage may be in its relative infancy, but Parascale nonetheless faces stiff competition, not least from clustered NAS vendors such as Isilon as well as the likes of Amazon and emerging storage service providers.

Undeterred, Krishnan argues that Parascale will forge its own place in the market, claiming that PCS will offer a low-cost alternative to Isilon and Amazon’s S3 service.

“With Parascale, in under six months, you would re-coup the cost of something like Amazon S3,” he says, adding that PCS also removes the need for specific clustering hardware such as Isilon’s IQ offerings. “It’s hard to compete against the economics of the IBM, HP and Dell storage and Linux.”

Despite Krishnan’s competitive claims, Parascale has just five users testing the PCS offering, only one of which, WAN optimization specialist Blue Coat Systems, has been made public.

Blue Coat is using PCS to manage 3 Tbytes of storage on a Gigabit Ethernet network powered by a Dell PowerEdge server. The vendor is testing the Parascale offering as a disk-to-disk backup repository to accelerate file backup and recovery, according to Krishnan. “They have been trialing the system for almost two years – people are putting valuable data on our software, so we want this to be solid.”The exec was less forthcoming on the subject of Parascale’s current headcount, confirming only that the company has “under 50” employees. “This time next year, we will be a little bit more than that,” he adds.

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  • Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)

  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Isilon Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ISLN)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • ParaScale Inc.

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • XenSource Inc.

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