Sensing an opportunity in cloud storage, Toshiba has poured $3 million into Zadara Storage, an Irvine, Calif.-based private cloud storage startup. The investment was made through the Japanese electronics giant’s semiconductor and flash storage division, Toshiba America Electronic Components (TEAC).

Zadara’s claim to fame is its Virtual Private Storage Array (VSPA), a commodity server and software combo that enables businesses to float secure and elastic private cloud storage. Aimed at both primary and secondary storage (backup) workloads, and appearing as iSCSI storage, VSPA isolates a user’s resources from a given cloud’s other users.

Named one of InfoStor’s six storage startups to watch in July 2012, the company has teamed with Sanbolic to bring its tech to Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. Dimension Data and Equinix are among the company’s other technology partners. Highlighting VSPA’s potential for cost-savings, Zadara CEO and co-founder Nelson Nahum, stated “Zadara’s VPSA service provides customers with the same capabilities as on-premise enterprise SAN/NAS arrays without the necessity of upfront capital or long-term commitment.”

To date, the two-year-old company, which was founded by LSI veterans and has research and development center in Israel, raised $10 million. The latest infusion of cash will be used to expand the company’s sales, support and engineering efforts.

Toshiba, meanwhile, is exploring new ways to participate in the exploding cloud storage market.

The companies will hinted at the possibility of Toshiba-powered systems, saying in a statement that they plan to work “together to introduce innovative Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) products using cutting-edge technologies they have each developed.”

TAEC’s expertise in flash storage and solid-state drives will manifest in Zadara’s future offerings, suggested Nahum.

“By working closely with TAEC we can synergistically integrate disk drive and SSD components with storage software. The combination means unique and compelling cloud storage solutions as well as ‘cold storage,’ or secondary storage, solutions,” said the executive in company remarks.

Zadara and Toshiba aren’t the only companies leveraging SSDs for cloud storage. Last year, Los Angeles-based Morphlabs teamed with Dell for all-SSD private clouds. In April, CloudSigma and SolidFire took a different tack and partnered for all-SSD public cloud storage.

SolidFire made news again this month by debuting its new high performance, flash storage based SF9010 array. The cloud-friendly storage system’s unveiling occurred while the Boulder, Colo.-based company also announced that it had raised $31 million in a funding round led by Samsung, the Korean maker of flash chips and SSDs.

“We feel that SolidFire has very strong leadership of All-SSD Storage Platform in both public and private cloud computing markets. Their patent pending QoS capabilities and true scale-out architecture will put them in the right position as the cloud computing market matures,” commented Samsung Ventures senior director Jay Chong in a statement.

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

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