Enterprise Flash Storage Company Virident Systems Raises $26M From Sequoia, Mitsui And Others

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Virident Systems, a company that develops flash-based storage class memory solutions for the enterprise, has raised $26 million in Series D funding led by Mitsui Global Investments with Globespan Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital and Artiman Ventures participating. To date, Virident has raised $76 million.

Additionally, the company is announcing that Mike Gustafson has joined as CEO and is a member of its Board of Directors. Former CEO and co-founder Kumar Ganapathy will remain with the company and work closely with the executive team on business strategy, new product development, and strategic partnerships.

Virident has built flash solutions that are compatible with any servers and allow enterprises to enhance not only the speed of their applications but to ensure reliable performance under heavy workloads, specifically for data-intensive workloads, such as databases, business analytics, simulation, visualization and high-performance computing.

“We think flash storage is going to take over when it comes to performance. We are the performance leader with a flash-based PCI card. The vision is to build around that. There’s a lot of opportunity here,” Gustafson tells us.

The company believes that bringing flash memory to the storage space (both for data centers and enterprise storage) will fundamentally disrupt how information is stored. As Ganapathy has said in the past, a future may well be coming in which the very flash memory chips that are built into billions of smartphones today force data centers “to adopt a completely new storage architecture with massive cost reductions and a significantly smaller footprint.” For Virident, the future is all about solid-state devices.

Gustafson was most recently with Hitachi Data Systems, where he served as senior vice president and general manager of the File and Content Business. Gustafson served as president and CEO of BlueArc from 2005 until the acquisition of the company by Hitachi in September 2011. Prior to BlueArc, Gustafson was at storage area network company McData.

The new investment will be used for sales and marketing, as well as new software and product development. In the last 12 months, the company has doubled its headcount and invested heavily in the new version of its flagship product, Virident FlashMAX II, which allows enterprise application performance to be optimized.

“The flash storage market is predicted to grow to $4 billion by 2015, and this investment only strengthens our conviction that Virident will become the primary industry provider of the fastest storage class memory solutions to the world’s leading enterprise datacenters,” said Sanjay Pichaiah, investment director at Mitsui Global Investment.

It’s important to note that the flash storage space is chock full of competitors, including Fusion-IO. Gustafson agrees that this is an extremely competitive market with additional investment from VCs. “We expect more and more competition, but we expect to win in the markets we are focusing on. But we are the performance leader.”