Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is the lead investor in a $20 million oversubscribed B round for PernixData, a company that the venture capital firm says has made a breakthrough that has not been seen in the storage business for the past decade. Lightspeed Venture Partners, which led the first round, joined the round with Kleiner.
Also participating in the new round were Mark Leslie, founder and CEO of Veritas; John Thompson, ex-CEO of Symantec and Microsoft board member as well as Lane Bess, ex-CEO of Palo Alto Networks. Last year, PernixData raised $7 million.
It may seem like overkill to call something a breakthrough. But PernixData has developed a scale-out software defined storage system that manages the flash instead of forcing IT to over-provision. That’s in contrast to solutions that have historically meant throwing more hardware at the storage problem. Traditional methods make scaling out expensive, as the storage often has to be attached instead of getting pooled and easily deployed. PernixData makes it easier to scale out without storage being as much of a concern.
The breakthrough comes in how PernixData decouples performance and capacity, two factors that have led to more IT spending in the past ten years than most any other issues. The performance problem stems from the need to have sufficient storage capacity in order for systems to run well. It becomes a guessing game. With virtualization comes the need for more storage capacity. By separating performance and capacity, IT can get more granularity in the management of the storage without adding to or changing out the infrastructure. The company claims it also means IT can scale out performance as easily as they scale their compute and memory, without any need to change applications or storage infrastructure. That provides some freedom to better manage data loads. It means a business does not have to focus as much on the cost of storage. With more scale out capability, a company can think differently about extending its business.
Poojan Kumar, CEO and Co-Founder of PernixData said at their launch in February that they would focus on the VMware market. That is still the plan but it also wants to extend to other hypervisor platforms such as Xen and KVM, the hypervisors of choice for scale out systems such as Hadoop.
PernixData is for real. They have customers and have grown fast since the February launch. But this is a software play and you can expect the competition to intensify as more systems companies take a deeper software focus.