Rasilient Rustles Up Cash

Stealth startup gets $4M from Intel and Acorn Campus to develop high-availability storage

February 19, 2003

3 Min Read
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Stealth storage networking startup Rasilient Systems Inc. has landed $4 million in first-round funding from Acorn Campus and the Intel Communications Fund (see RASilient Scores $4M Series A).

Rasilient, which was founded in November 2001, says it will use the funding to bring its first products to market and expand its management team. The disphonious name is a reference to RAS, which stands for reliability, availability, serviceability -- the hallmark requirements of IT infrastructure and a marketing term originally coined by IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM). The Cupertino, Calif., company is headed by one Sean Chang, president, CEO and founder, but there's no information on its Website about his background.

The Website does trumpet the following slogan: "Rasilient Systems mission is to provide highly available networked storage for the masses." [Ed. note: That was one of the key demands of the Paris Commune of 1871, was it not?] More specifically: "high-availability storage hardware and intelligent software" for small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) and branch offices of large enterprises. The company claims its "patent-pending technology" lowers the cost of high-availability networked storage systems for the SME market "by making cost and no single point of failure... the primary design criterion [sic]."

We did find a few posts by people who are evidently Rasilient engineers on a Linux RAID mailing list. In light of that, along with the fact that Intel is an investor, one might conclude that Rasilient is trying to make a cheap array of disks that doesn't act like a cheap array of disks.

It's not exactly a unique idea. Other startups that fall into this category include LeftHand Networks, Pillar Data Systems, EqualLogic Inc., and Intransa Inc. (see Larry's Stealth Storage Startup, EqualLogic Draws Bank's Interest, Intransa Quiet on Plansa, and Engineers Take LeftHand Turn).Aside from that, there's precious little additional info we were able to turn up at all about this early-stage firm (whose phone number connects directly to Acorn's switchboard). However, it's noteworthy enough that its Series A funding came from Intel and high-tech incubator Acorn, which are certainly both coveted investors in the technology field.

Wu Fu Chen, managing partner of Acorn, has been around the high-tech block a few times over. Chen was at Cascade Communications before it was sold to Ascend for $2.6 billion, and he founded three other companies that went on to sell for big bucks: Arris Networks (bought by Cascade for $145 million), Ardent Communications (sold to Cisco Systems Inc. [Nasdaq: CSCO] for $232 million), and Shasta Networks (to Nortel Networks Corp. [NYSE/Toronto: NT], $340 million).

Chen is quoted saying this in Rasilient's funding announcement: "We believe that Rasilient is in a unique position to leverage Acorn Campus's relationships in Asia to bring optimum storage systems for small enterprises. There is a huge market demand in this sector which will be met by innovative new companies like Rasilient." Not much light shed, there.

Meanwhile, the Intel Communications Fund invests in "companies developing basic communications and semiconductor components and boards, real-time operating systems, software tools and utilities, system level hardware and software, and wireless network services and channels." Errrr... well, that doesn't really help us figure out what Rasilient does, either.

Here's Mike Wall, general manager of Intel's storage components division, again in the Rasilient press release: "Rasilient exemplifies the value of combining common storage building blocks into storage arrays that satisfy a broad set of customer requirements at costs significantly lower than traditional high availability offerings. Scalable, high-volume storage is a major focus of Intel's storage strategy and RASilient is bringing that concept into reality."Reliability. Availability. Serviceability. Yep, the buzzwords all check out. We'll have to see what Rasilient has to show for itself down the line.

— Todd Spangler, US Editor, and Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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