ClearSky Data Lands $27 Million To Expand Hybrid Storage Solution

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ClearSky Data has come up with an interesting approach to solve the data storage cost and speed problem. Today it was rewarded with a $27 million Series B round to continue the mission.

The company came out of stealth in August with a plan to offer customers a multi-tier, fully managed, hybrid data-management solution. In practice this involves an appliance that’s installed in your data center (or in AWS or Azure) and houses the company’s most important hot data, a second level of storage stored at a co-location facility within 120 miles of a customer deals with somewhat important or warm data and finally Amazon S3 storage for stuff you don’t need all that often or cold data.

The idea is that you can reduce cost by distributing the data across these tiers, with the data you need the most stored closest to you for the least latency. The secret sauce is the software and algorithms that manage all of it and moves the data between the various tiers automatically based on usage patterns, policy and customer requirements.

The company also handles other data management tasks including de-duplication, backup and disaster recovery.

The round was led by Polaris Partners, with a strategic investment from Akamai Technologies. Previous investors General Catalyst and Highland Capital Partners also participated. With today’s investment, the company has raised $39 million across two rounds.

There is a tremendous market opportunity in storage in general, but ClearSky’s founders have been able to build a sophisticated solution that solves a big problem, according to Dave Barrett from lead investor Polaris Ventures. He says, that’s what attracted him to the company.

“It’s not easy to do. There is a tremendous amount of storage chops and algorithmic magic that goes into what they’ve built,” he said.

ClearSky really had its coming out party this Fall at VMworld and Amazon re:invent, company CEO Ellen Rubin told TechCrunch. It’s not easy for a new player to get attention, but the fact that traditional storage market leaders like EMC are suddenly distracted didn’t escape her notice or visitors to the company booth.

She says ClearSky’s product is aiming for the more adventurous side of the market and companies that would be buying from more traditional storage vendors are not necessarily the target market here.

“The customers that will try ClearSky in the next couple of years will be on early adopter side of the spectrum,” she pointed out. These customers are trying to find new ways to solve their storage problem and get out of the data center management business while they’re at it.

She sees her company as different from even more modern storage players like Pure Storage (which recently went public). That’s because ClearSky’s solution takes customers out of the storage provisioning and management business and leaves all of the heavy lifting to her company, Rubin explained.

Rubin would not say how many customers her company has at this point, but she did say that some of its earliest Beta customers are in the process of becoming paid customers and she would be able to share specific numbers at a later date.

ClearSky is based in Boston and currently has co-location facilities running in Boston, Philadelphia and most recently Las Vegas.

The company has 40 employees and Rubin said that she is planning on using some of the new funding to add additional personnel and begin to expand the business to other locations around the country and the globe.