Startup Joins SAN Processor Trend

Aarohi, another storage processor startup, gets $15 million

October 12, 2001

3 Min Read
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Aarohi Inc., a stealth-mode startup specializing in storage network processors, has scored $15 million in first-round funding.

Aarohi's not saying very much about its doings, but its award highlights a growing trend of companies specializing in new types of components for building next-generation SAN and NAS devices.

"We're really excited about this space because it's just beginning," says Aarohi's CEO, Ameesh Divatia. While hesitant to divulge specific plans, he says Aarohi will focus on creating components that increase the performance, functionality, and scaleability of storage equipment.

Based in India and the U.S., Aarohi secured the funding from several investors, led by Broadview Holdings and TeleSoft Partners, with contributions from DotEdu Ventures, Evercore Ventures, JumpStartUp, and an anonymous investor.

The funds will be used to build up Aarohi, which was founded by Divatia, a former chief product strategist for the optical transport business unit at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Amar Kapadia, formerly of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP)."We're still hiring the management team, so we can't say too much more about who's on board yet," Divatia says. He also acknowledges the rest of the firm's just starting out. "We're in complete ramp-up mode. We just hired twenty people."

Divatia came to Cisco when that company purchased PipeLinks Inc., a Sonet/SDH router company he helped to found, for about $126 million early in 1999. Prior to PipeLinks, Divatia worked at 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS), Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), and Allied Telesyn.

Divatia says Aarohi wasn't seeking publicity at this time, that its cover was broken inadvertently by announcements in various venture capital news publications early this week. Even so, the company's clearly not alone. Just last month, startup Silverback Systems Inc. garnered $15 million in funding for storage chips designed for host bus adapters, storage arrays, and routers or switches geared to storage networking (see Silverback Emerges From the Mist).

Another startup, Trebia Networks Inc., in July announced $40 million in funding for storage network processor chips (see Trebia's $40M Secret). And semiconductor startup Chelsio Communications puts "storage routers" at the top of the list of devices it hopes to supply.

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) also is said to be interested in this area. And Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT) scarfed up chips from startup Platys Communications Inc. for use in future products (see Adaptec Pockets Platys).All these companies say they're looking to improve the performance of storage devices and servers by offloading the intensive processing required in storage networks, particularly those that deploy emerging protocols, such as iSCSI or Fibre Channel over IP.

Like the network processors that have emerged in other areas of networking over the past year, these new chips are aimed at handling tasks that otherwise would require complex and costly ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits).

Aarohi seems to share this focus. It's got job openings for software engineers with expertise in "TCP/IP internals," Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and SCSI, as well as real-time operating systems and CPU internals. One of the startup's engineers, Sriram Rupanagunta, helped author the Fibre Channel over TCP/IP (FCIP) documents in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

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