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Level 5 Launches

Level 5 Networks Inc. went public today with product news and a late announcement of $30 million in Series B funding -- the latest of several alternatives for faster data center interconnection.

Level 5 is a semiconductor company that offers EtherFabric, a technique for reducing the overhead of TCP/IP applications -- including iSCSI ones -- in Ethernet networks. The firm, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., with about 50 employees, has raised $39 million in funding since its founding in 2002.

The latest round of $30 million was completed in February 2005 and included Accel Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners Ltd., IDG Ventures, and Oak Investment Partners.

EtherFabric is being sold as a two-port, 1-Gbit/s PCI adapter for use in Linux-based blade servers, Web servers, clusters, and storage devices. It removes TCP/IP processing from the operating system kernel and puts it in the application via use of a special runtime library. By the end of this year, the company plans to have a PCI-Express version available, and by the first part of 2006, a 10-Gbit/s version.

Level 5 is offering EtherFabric HBAs and software to OEMs and integrators for $495 in 100-unit quantities.

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