Storage vendors with a strong channel focus are continuing to receive venture capital investments.
InMage Systems, which develops disaster recover continuous data protection software, on Monday said it raised $10 million in its Series B funding, money it expects will tide the company over until profitability and an eventual IPO.
InMage is one of the original developers of technology for continuous data protection, or CDP, said Rajeev Atluri, CTO and vice president of engineering for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.
With CDP, changes to data are backed up immediately or at certain pre-defined intervals to allow users to be able to instantly recover a deleted, corrupted, or modified file. While many applications allow data changes to be captured on-the-fly, others back up the changes at set intervals.
InMage offers what Atluri called "true CDP," that is, the ability back up every change to data on the fly, and restore to any previous version of the data in case of error or data corruption.
"Every change you are making is protected right away, and you can go to any point in time," he said.
The company's CDP technology is aimed at disaster recovery, with the data changes sent to a remote site leveraging customers' existing SAN hardware and software.
The highest level of protection is offered using one-to-one remote replication of data changes. Atluri said the company's DR-Scout software can be loaded on an industry-standard server at the customer's primary data center to serve as a cache for the data changes which come from client software applications on the production servers.
Those changes are then replicated across a WAN to a remote site where they can be stored for recovery purposes, or even immediately copied to physical or virtual servers running the customer's applications for immediate use should the primary data center go down, he said.
"This is the key to fast recovery," Atluri said. "You can do application-to-application failover because the applications are already installed on the remote side. Usually, end-to-end application failover needs a lot of consistency checking tools which can take hours or days to use. We can recover to a known application's consistency point, and so we don't need to do consistency checking."
For customers not looking for immediate recovery, the company's software can also be used for local disaster recovery to backup changes to a local storage device for recovery to previous points in time for the date, Atluri said.
In addition to CDP, the software includes encryption, compression, and data de-duplication, or data de-dupe, capabilities. It also includes a CDP Retention Module which shows customers how much bandwidth and capacity are needed to meet their data recovery requirements.
An entry-level solution might start at between $10,000 and $15,000, while the average installation costs about $70,000, said Tom Urban, the company's director of marketing.
InMage currently has about 30 solution providers in North America, and is looking to recruit new partners with strong storage backgrounds, Urban said. "They will hopefully have a professional services group and customers who trust them," he said. "We haven't spent a lot on marketing."
John Ferraro, CEO and president of InMage, said the company's Series A round of funding brought it $7.3 million, giving it a total of $17.3 million in funding. "We expect this to be the last round," he said.
Leading the Series B round was a corporate partner Ferarro declined to name. "We can't divulge it," he said. "It's so strategic, and the market is so big, that it would hurt both companies to mention it."
Atluri said it is better not to mention the corporate partner's name until "certain events" happen.
Ferraro said that an acquisition is not one of those "certain events." "We have plans to go IPO three years down the road," he said.
Exanet, which develops software to turn commodity hardware into a custom NAS grid solution, for its part, is looking to use its Series C round of funding to work with more channel partners and increase services and marketing, said Rami Schwartz, CEO of the Israel-based vendor with U.S. headquarters in New York.
The company's ExaStore software is installed on off-the-shelf hardware and RAID systems to enable unlimited amounts of data from multiple storage pools to be consolidated into a single NAS system, Schwartz said.
Exanet currently has about 100 customers who are managing a total of about 3 Petabytes of data using its software, Schwartz said.
"We focus on NAS today because it's the fastest-growing segment of the storage business today thanks to the growth of unstructured data," he said. "We beat the competition in terms of bandwidth and I/O. But nothing limits us to NAS. We'll probably get into other connectivity solution when we reach about 1,000 customers."
To reach those new customers, the company depends on the channel for sales. It currently has about 30 channel partners worldwide, including companies like Arrow who integrate the software and sell to other solution providers, Schwartz said.
It is currently looking to recruit the business partners of hardware vendors like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun, Dot Hill, Hitachi Data Systems, Xyratex, and others whose hardware can be used as a platform for the ExaStore software, he said.
The company is also looking to work with solution providers who specialize in particular verticals such as digital media access management or surveillance, as well as companies who can offer it as a service such as current partner Digitiliti, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based provider of managed storage services.