Neverfail Nabs New Cash

With $10M in fresh funding, the maker of server failover software forges ahead

January 21, 2006

3 Min Read
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A late-stage startup from Europe has refilled its coffers and aims to blast competition in the international backup and replication space.

Neverfail Group Ltd. has taken another $10 million in funding, bringing its total to $40 million. The money, from Fidelity Ventures, Advent Ventures, and a firm representing a wealthy individual named Sir Peter Michael in England, is earmarked to help Neverfail sustain what execs claim is burgeoning growth.

"We're blowing and going!" enthuses David French, chief executive of the Americas for Neverfail. "We have hundreds of customers." (There are roughly 80 listed by name on the company's site.)

Neverfail has grown by 50 percent on average every quarter for the past two years in the U.S., execs say. They claim 400 resellers around the world. As for profitability, that's merely a matter of picking the right time, French insists. So far, Neverfail has opted to siphon funds right back into marketing and sales.

The firm, which was founded as an IT consultancy in the U.K. nearly 12 years ago, has had its application failover software, also called Neverfail, on the market for just two-and-a-half years. In that time, it has managed to make a mark among users that need automatic server failover in the event of disaster -- but don't want to pay for high-end clustering to get it done."We looked extensively at clustering solutions for our Microsoft Exchange 2000 environment, but we found that traditional clustering was both too complex and too costly," says Rob Harper, network administrator of Loudon Healthcare Inc., in a prepared statement. He claims to have installed Neverfail for his server in less than one day. The average cost per implementation, French says, is under $10,000.

Neverfail likes the clustering comparison. Using what French terms a "cloning process," products track data files, executables, and registries on a server, so that in the event that server fails, a secondary server (or NAS or SAN) can kick in, supporting local and remote users. According to French, most failovers occur within 20 seconds, though it can take a full minute or so to get some servers back online.

One thing: Since Neverfail supports specific applications, there are separate packages for Exchange, SQL Server, Blackberry, and Progress, to name a few. In some shops, this multiplicity could be viewed as a drawback. However, French says a core technology called Heartbeat serves as the mounting point for multiple modules and coordinates copies.

Regardless of drawbacks, simple and cheap support for failover on servers, SAN, NAS, and DAS puts Neverfail in a hot spot for IT buyers. The company's found itself in competition with other software companies that provide backup, replication, and continuous data protection (CDP) -- especially with XOsoft and NSI. That's tough competition for a company that's just getting underway.

With its U.S. headquarters firmly established in Austin, Texas, however, Neverfail appears at least to be in a solid place to move ahead. Management reflects this: Though the company's adding a VC to its board, it's retaining its top team, including, besides French, chairman Hugh McCartney, formerly with software companies Merant, Sybase, and Ingres; group CEO Neil Robertson, ex-Team Systems, Misys, and British Olivetti; and CTO Wouter Senf, who spent 15 years at Tandem.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Advent Ventures

  • Fidelity Ventures

  • Neverfail Group Ltd.

  • NSI Software Inc.

  • Sybase Inc.

  • CA XOsoft

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