Startup Goes From Garage to Grids

Straight outta the garage, a grid computing startup nabs $200,000 in funding from the DOE

September 25, 2004

2 Min Read
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Grid computing startup SeaFire Micros Inc. has started publicizing itself, especially in light of its $200,000 in backing from the U.S. Department of Energy (see SeaFire Emerges From Stealth).

Earlier this month the DOE awarded SeaFire its second $100,000 grant to develop offload engine technology to support grid computing applications. The first grant was used to develop the architecture up to 10 Gbit/s, and the second grant will push the technology through to 40 Gbit/s.

The company, which was founded four years ago in the garage of Michael Awrach, a former senior hardware designer at Crescent Networks, now boasts seven full-time employees and backing from four private investors.

When NDCF contacted Awrach earlier today he was unwilling to name the private investors, although he said that SeaFire will likely make an initial overture to the VC community early next year. Beta stage products are likely to appear towards the end of the second quarter in 2005, he added.

So, whats in it for the DOE? According to Awrach, the Department will not have to pay royalties to use the technology when it is finally developed. The U.S. Government, with its vast array of supercomputing centers and labs, is widely regarded as being at the forefront of grid computing. Argonne National Laboratory is already in discussions with SeaFire to beta test the technology, Awrach said.Offload engines, or TOEs, as they are more often known, are used to reduce the strain on server processors in data centers. But the race is on to deploy offload technologies to support grid computing. And SeaFire is not the only company playing in this space.

Earlier this year another startup, Chelsio Communications Inc., emerged from stealth with its T110 product -- a 10-Gig Ethernet TCP (Transport Control Protocol) offload engine. Since then, the company has also launched the N110, a half-size PCI-X interface card (see Chelsio Debuts 10-GigE Adapter and Chelsio Unveils Server Adapter).

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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