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Siliquent Secures $10M for 10-Gig Silicon

Stealthy startup Siliquent Technologies Ltd. has raised $10 million in a first round of funding from Benchmark Capital and Greylock to develop a storage network processor. It joins an increasingly large pool of chip startups targeting this market (see Siliquent Scores $10 Million).

Based in Tel Aviv, Siliquent was officially founded in October 2000 by Amit Oren and Dan Arazi, previously the top brass at Orckit Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: ORCT), an Israeli DSL chip and modem company.

Siliquent admits its not the first to get funding in this space. Aarohi Inc., Netoctave Inc., Playtis, (acquired by Adaptec Inc. [Nasdaq: ADPT]), Silverback Systems Inc., and Trebia Networks Inc. have all garnered top-tier VC funding and are well on their way to developing processors for the SAN market.

Still, Siliquent argues that it has an important differentiating feature: ”We are developing a 10-Gbit/s iSCSI chip,” says Arazi. Other vendors in this space are working on 1-Gbit/s chips, although they plan to implement 10-Gbit/s technology in the future.

It's a bold move, with a big potential payoff. Widespread availability of 10-Gbit/s iSCSI (SCSI over IP) silicon is considered to be essential before IP switches and storage devices can displace Fibre Channel in data centers. On the other hand, Siliquent is early -- really early -- to the 10-gig game. Standards for iSCSI are still under development, which means that Siliquent could well get caught out and have to change its products as it goes along, in response to changes in the specs.

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