High-performance NAS Filer Maker Avere Gets $20M In New Funding

With the new round, total venture investment in Pittsburgh-based Avere now stands at $52 million.

Avere has already been shipping products for about three years, and it is gaining traction in markets where storage performance is paramount, said Ron Bianchini, president and CEO of the company.

[Related: NetApp Intros Flash Pool, Virtual Storage Appliances With New Storage OS ]

Avere has no strategic investors, Bianchini said. "We're all about partnering with other storage vendors," he said.

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Avere builds high-performance NAS appliances, or filers, that sit at the edge of a customer's infrastructure to auto-tier customers' data, Bianchini said.

The Avere filers serve data to users, with the most accessed data stored on the filers, storing the less-active data on other vendors' NAS appliances. Avere does not provide the central storage arrays at the core, but instead its filers work with almost any vendor's core storage, Bianchini said.

"At the edge, we only have go-fast components: RAM, Flash and SAS disks," he said. "We tell customers to put SATA at the core. SATA is cheap but has poor performance. So, we auto-tier the data. What is accessed often is stored at the edge, and what is not accessed often is moved to the SATA storage. If you put us in front of a very dense SATA core, that is the capacity part. We provide the performance part."

Bianchini is no stranger to high-performance NAS. He was a founder of high-performance grid-based NAS technology developer Spinnaker, which NetApp acquired in 2003.

Currently, Avere's product line consists of the company's software, which runs on high-speed hardware sourced from third-party manufacturers, Bianchini said. He also said he sees the day coming when the company might offer its edge filers as virtual appliances.

"I'm not going to count it out in the future," he said. "But today, we take advantage of the components we use. We know how much RAM, Flash and SAS we have and optimize our performance around it. If we go with virtual appliances, we would have to optimize around what customers give us."

Just over 50 percent of Avere's sales go through indirect sales channels, Bianchini said. He expects that percentage to continue growing.