New Start-Up FlashSoft Secures $3 Million First RoundIn SSD caching software
This is a Press Release edited by StorageNewsletter.com on 2011.07.01
FlashSoft Corporation announced of its Series A funding of $3 million, led by Thomvest Ventures, and the introduction of a commercial offering of software to enable enterprise flash as a cost-effective, server-tier computing resource.
The company's product, called FlashSoft SE, is available and is being used in business-critical production environments by several customers. FlashSoft SE is available for free evaluation through a 30-day Try Before You Buy program.
Flash technology has gained traction in enterprise computing due to its ability to reduce I/O 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 SE is an 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 with existing storage infrastructure. In fact, FlashSoft actually reduces the IO burden on storage, producing 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.
Mobile device management solutions provider Zenprise exceeded its expectations by increasing performance 10x with a FlashSoft-based cache. "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, 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."
In conjunction with its funding announcement, FlashSoft announced that it is collaborating with firms 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 solutions for their specific requirements.
FlashSoft was founded by a team with decades of experience at companies including Veritas Software, 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, 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 benefit, eliminating I/O 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.
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 transparent to the server and storage infrastructure
- 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.
FlashSoft SE for Windows Server is available for evaluation and purchase. Pricing is based on the number of servers accelerated and types of SSDs employed. FlashSoft SE for Linux is currently in beta testing.