FlashSoft, a developer of flash virtualization technology, has closed on a $3 million round of funding led by early statge investor Thomvest Ventures. The company also released its software, designed to enable enterprise flash as a cost-effective, server-tier computing resource. FlashSoft is based in Mountain View, Calif.
FlashSoft(TM) Corporation, the Flash Virtualization(TM) Company, launched today with the announcement of its Series A funding of $3 million, led by Thomvest Ventures, and the introduction of the first commercial offering of software to enable enterprise flash as a cost-effective, server-tier computing resource. The company’s product, called FlashSoft SE, is commercially available today and is already being used in business-critical production environments by several customers.
Flash technology has gained traction in enterprise computing due to its ability to reduce input/output (IO) latency, and to increase scalability and performance for databases, enterprise applications and virtualization environments. The analyst firm Objective Analysis has forecast that shipments of enterprise SSDs will grow to 4 million units by 2015, more than 50 times the number shipped in 2010.
Despite the performance advantages of flash SSD, two barriers have inhibited its adoption in the enterprise. First, when used as primary data storage, flash memory cannot easily integrate with and leverage the benefits of existing storage systems infrastructure. Secondly, storing all of an application’s data on server-attached flash memory remains expensive. FlashSoft overcomes both of these objections.
FlashSoft SE is the first commercially available, all-software “tier minus one” solution for Flash Virtualization. Enterprise IT can now provide databases, applications and virtual machine environments with the performance benefit of having the entire data set on flash, with only a fraction of the data actually stored in flash. This innovation makes enterprise flash a cost-effective performance solution that works seamlessly with existing storage infrastructure. In fact, FlashSoft actually reduces the IO burden on storage, producing even greater cost savings. FlashSoft’s technology is designed to deliver flash-grade performance within a standalone server, across server clusters, and throughout the data center.
Early Customer Successes
Mobile device management solutions provider Zenprise exceeded its expectations by increasing performance 10x with a FlashSoft-based cache. Read their success story in full at http://www.flashsoft.com/zenprise-case-study.html.
“Performance is our key issue, and we’ve established without a doubt that IO — not CPU — is the key bottleneck we need to address. Most of the work-arounds we have considered don’t directly address the IO bottleneck as effectively as FlashSoft does,” explained Jay Gausch, manager of customer relations at Zenprise. “And FlashSoft is not only more effective, it’s more economical. By using FlashSoft, we aren’t buying new server hardware or licensing additional server software. We’re simply making our existing servers and software run at their full potential.”
FlashSoft customer Trion Worlds, the premier publisher and developer of connected video games, began using FlashSoft with PCIe SSDs to eliminate reporting delays from a critical business intelligence system. “People know us as a premier connected gaming company, but inside we’re a high-performance, data-driven operation,” said Brent Meshier, manager of IT operations. “FlashSoft enables us to apply enterprise flash easily and economically to maximize performance for essential business analytics operations.”
The FlashSoft Community
“Flash memory has arrived in the enterprise, and it is destined to drive revolutionary changes in enterprise computing,” said Ted Sanford, CEO of FlashSoft. “We will build momentum by working with our customers and partners with openness and transparency. We are bringing together a community of SSD vendors, software platform providers, systems integrators, VARs, and end user customers in a common forum to share experiences and get answers.” The FlashSoft Technical Community site is available at http://tech.flashsoft.com.
In conjunction with its funding announcement, FlashSoft announced that it is collaborating with industry leaders including VMware, Microsoft, SanDisk Enterprise Storage Solutions, Virident Systems, LSI, OCZ Technology, and systems provider AMAX. These relationships will help FlashSoft integrate its software more closely with complementary hardware and software products, and provide customers with the best solutions for their specific requirements. Organizations and individuals interested in joining the FlashSoft community can email [email protected]
FlashSoft was founded by a team with decades of experience at companies including VERITAS, Oracle and Symantec. Managing Director Don Butler of Thomvest Ventures will join the FlashSoft board of directors.
“Thomvest consistently seeks innovators whose vision is to disrupt the status quo,” said Butler. “FlashSoft changes the dynamics of the industry, both in its Flash Virtualization technology and its open, straightforward business model.”
In addition to Thomvest Ventures, leading early-stage investors Divergent Ventures, Bullpen Capital and Accelerator Ventures are participating in the company’s first venture capital investment.
FlashSoft SE Technology Advantages
FlashSoft SE is a software solution that automatically identifies and caches the most frequently used data — hot data — on any SSD in the server. This capability, called Active Data Management, enables flash SSD to be applied to the computing operations in which it can provide the greatest benefit, eliminating IO latency that holds back application and virtualization scale and performance.
In a recent performance test, a standard OLTP test suite on MS-SQL Server ran 4X faster with a FlashSoft-enabled cache on enterprise flash drives than on the baseline HDD storage array. Details of the performance test and results can be found at http://www.flashsoft.com/performance-test-ms-sql.html.
The FlashSoft solution offers technical advantages including:
— Provides a persistent read-write cache in the compute tier
— Compatible with any SSD: SATA, SAS or PCIe
— Requires no modifications to data, applications or storage; the
SSD-based cache is completely transparent to the server and storage
— Automatically tunes over 60 operational parameters to support specific
SSD architectures and application types
— Cluster-aware cache design supports shared-nothing and shared-storage
environments, including virtual server environments
— Minimal server overhead; optimized metadata management and cache design
enable 100MB of server memory to manage 1TB of flash.
Additional technical product information may be found in the FlashSoft SE Technology Overview at http://tech.flashsoft.com/resources/flashsoft-technical-overview.html.
Pricing and Availability
FlashSoft SE for Windows Server is available for evaluation and purchase now. To learn more about the 30-day “Try Before You Buy” program, visit http://www.flashsoft.com/flashsoft-se-available-evaluation.html. Pricing is based on the number of servers accelerated and types of SSDs employed. FlashSoft SE for Linux is currently in Beta testing. For more information, or to participate in the Linux Beta program, contact [email protected]
Thomvest Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm committed to the success of our entrepreneur partners. We primarily focus on investments in areas where we have deep expertise and experience — software, consumer Internet, networking, and semiconductors. At Thomvest Ventures, the capital we invest is our own, which enables us to be more creative, flexible and patient than most venture investors. We believe that it takes time to build great companies, and we’re committed to supporting our entrepreneurs throughout their journey. That’s why more than two-thirds of the companies that we have funded in the last decade have either gone public, been acquired, or continue to grow as independent businesses. To learn more about Thomvest Ventures, please visit www.thomvest.com.
FlashSoft(TM) Corporation provides software solutions for Flash Virtualization(TM) that eliminate IO latency to increase application performance, increase VM capability and relieve overhead on storage systems. Its Active Data Management technology uses sophisticated algorithms to observe IO and cache hot data on server-tier SSD. FlashSoft delivers its solutions directly to customers and in partnership with leading providers of flash memory technology, computing infrastructure and IT solutions. For more information, visit www.flashsoft.com.
The FlashSoft name and “Flash Virtualization” are trademarks of FlashSoft Corporation. All other brand names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.