Software Defined Storage Startup PernixData Raises $20M

By Pedro Hernandez

PernixData, a San Jose, Calif.-based storage software provider, is gearing up for the software-defined storage race. The startup is leveraging server-side flash in the hopes that the technology will give it a leg up on its competitors in the traditional enterprise information technology market.

The firm's Flash Virtualization Platform (FVP) "decouples storage performance from storage capacity," according to the company. The scale-out, hypervisor-based solution virtualizes server-side flash products like PCIe caching cards to transparently accelerate applications and virtualized workloads.

PernixData claims that its VM-aware technology seamlessly accommodates live migrations and distributed resource management, along with other clustered hypervisor capabilities, and completes the trifecta of virtualized CPU, memory and storage. Boasting an "open architecture," FVP works "equally well "with any storage, any hypervisor, any flash device and any application," asserts the company.

For PernixData CTO and cofounder Satyam Vaghani, it's about time that storage caught up with virtualized infrastructures. "Virtualization deserves better from storage, and this is just the beginning of the disruption we have planned for the storage industry," he said in a company statement.

FVP has earned PernixData the attention and funds of some prominent venture capital firms.

The company announced today that it had raised $20 million in an "oversubscribed" Series B round of financing headed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Backing was also provided by Lightspeed Venture Partners and ex-CEO and founder of Veritas Software, Mark Leslie.

The injection of capital arrives at an opportune time. Of late, both the enterprise data storage industry has its sights set on server-side flash.

In August, Fusion-io unveiled its software-defined storage acceleration technology dubbed ION. The following month, Sanbolic debuted a Melio SoftSAN software module called Latency Target Allocator (LTA) that simplifies storage management.

Virident unveiled its virtualization-friendly FlashMAX Connect software in February. A storage industry leader made waves in March by announcing that its enterprise flash storage hardware and software products -- including server-side solutions -- would fly under the EMC Xtreme banner.

Kleiner Perkins general partner Matt Murphy foresees PernixData following in the footsteps of a company whose very name is synonymous with virtualization.

"PernixData is solving one of the biggest outstanding issues in enterprise data centers: the cost and performance of storage. Pernix has the opportunity to do for storage what VMware did for compute," said Murphy.

In the meantime, the company is busy expanding its sales and marketing efforts, forge industry partnerships and build a channel ecosystem. "We plan to use the latest round of financing to expand our footprint in the enterprise and give our customers a beautiful alternative to scale their storage performance independent of capacity," informed PernixData CEO and cofounder Poojan Kumar.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on May 15, 2013