FlashSoft Exits Stealth Mode With Flash Memory Virtualization Software


Startup FlashSoft came out of stealth mode Tuesday to unveil its FlashSoft SE software for enabling customers to take advantage of Flash memory technology and improve IT operations.

FlashSoft also said it received $3 million in Series A funding to help continue development of its software.

That $3 million represents the total investment into FlashSoft to date, said Ted Sanford, founder and CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

FlashSoft SE is software that virtualizes the Flash memory inside a server and across multiple servers into a cache memory that can be used to run the most frequently-accessed data, Sanford said. It can work with PCIe-based Flash memory or with SSDs.

"It puts hot data on Flash in the cache," he said. "So for a 2-TB data set, you might normally need seven PCIe Flash cards. With FlashSoft, you just need one. That's $10,000 vs. $70,000 in cost."

FlashSoft SE is similar to EMC's recently announced Project Lightning in that it moves the data applications need into cache inside the server, Sanford said.

Having that data inside the server makes applications run even faster than when data is sitting in SSDs inside storage arrays as part of a tiered-storage approach, he said.

However, as an ISV, FlashSoft is not tied to specific SSDs or storage devices. "Project Lightning is tied to EMC storage," he said.

Accessing data on cache in the server helps eliminate the ever-present lag in performance between servers and storage, Sanford said. "This could change storage dynamics," he said. "If you are running the hottest 20 percent of data in server cache, you might not need the storage to be as powerful."

FlashSoft SE is cluster-aware, which means it clusters the cache of multiple servers regardless of which vendor's cluster technology is used, Sanford said.

"We can virtualized across multiple SSDs and PCIe Flash cards in a server, and across multiple servers," he said. "We're building a clustering model to provide a consistent distributed cache across the cluster."

The cluster-aware capability is expected to be available starting in late Summer or in the Fall, Sanford said. It will be available first for Microsoft clustering applications, and then for Linux, VMware, Xen, and KVM applications.

FlashSoft is looking to engage with solution providers who could buy the software and recommend the appropriate Flash memory devices for customers, Sanford said. Solution providers can also get training to optimize the FlashSoft SE software with customers' Flash memory devices for specific applications, he said.

The company is also in talks with storage OEMs about using its technology.