Pirus Scores Another $27 Million

Another storage networks company, Pirus Networks, lands VC funding as it gets ready to storm the market

March 28, 2001

3 Min Read
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Pirus Networks, a startup in the storage networking space, today announced closing of a $27 million funding round, bringing its total to $45 million. The startup also announced the acquisition for an undisclosed sum of Blue Spruce Networks, a software engineering firm in Wichita, Kansas (see Pirus Gets $27M, Buys Software Firm).

The funding round includes a contribution (amount undisclosed) from storage service provider StorageNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: STOR). The investment deal isn't exclusive in any way, however. StorageNetworks also has invested in StorageApps, which makes SAN gateways, and Vicom, which makes routers for use in SANs (storage area networks).

Other investors in Pirus include Veritas Software, which makes file management software for SANs. Earlier-round investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, BlueStream Ventures, and Morgan Keegan & Company Inc., among others.

Pirus says it will use its money to fund an assault on the SAN market sometime during the second quarter of this year. "We're growing our organization, including the sales and marketing teams, and developing and testing our first- and second-generation products," says CEO Rich Napolitano. The company has already grown from 12 employees in 1999 to more than 100 today. And the firm recently announced plans to double its headquarters space in Acton, Mass., to encompass 46,000 square feet.

Pirus won't be specific about what it's doing, but Napolitano says the product includes hardware designed to link different types of data networks (including IP, gigabit Ethernet, and Fibre Channel) to different kinds of storage systems."Our proposition is very broad... Our switch will be very dense and carrier class, with NEBS compliance," Napolitano says.

Analysts who've been briefed by Pirus management say the startup's picked a good spot. According to William Hurley, program manager at The Yankee Group, Pirus will compete with the likes of DataDirect Networks, which also makes a box designed to link network servers with storage servers. "These vendors portend the future look of storage communications, integrating a variety of network interfaces with strong support for Fibre Channel, SCSI, and IP-based storage over glass" he asserts.

Hurley says Pirus also will compete with Cereva Networks Inc. (see Cereva Details Storage Switch). But unlike Cereva, Pirus will link to a range of different vendors' storage units, while Cereva will link to its own. The tradeoff, Hurley says, will be that Pirus may not offer as granular control over storage devices -- even though it will support the devices that may already be in place in a carrier's network.

Besides Napolitano, Pirus's management includes Rich Corley, executive VP and founder, previously with Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), Arris Interactive, and Chipcom; Doug Wood, VP of engineering, formerly of the multimedia internetworking group at Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), as well as Xyplex; Mark Lovington, VP of marketing, formerly of Lucent and Xyplex; and Milan Merhar, chief scientist, formerly of Lucent. Merhar is active on a variety of IP storage standards efforts, including the iSCSI effort at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

-- Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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