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Infinite IO Closes $10.3 Million Funding Round

Infinite IO co-founder and CEO Mark Cree talks with CRN about the company’s technology, which transparently moves data to the cloud while increasing existing storage system performance.

Storage network controller developer Infinite IO this week unveiled a $10.3 million Series B funding round, led by several individual investors with longtime storage backgrounds along with funding from a number of private equity firms.

The new round brings total funding in Infinite IO to $15.505 million, said Mark Cree, co-founder and CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company.

Infinite IO offers two devices the company said easily installs with any vendor's storage system to accelerate the movement of that storage on-premises and in the cloud while making it appear to the user as if the data is stored locally, Cree told CRN.

[Related: Big Win For Object Storage: Cloudian Unveils $94M Funding Round]

These include the NSC-055s metadata accelerator, which offloads metadata processing to increase the performance of existing storage arrays, and the NSC-110 network-based storage controller, which continuously migrates inactive data to a cloud or low-cost storage tier without the need for a cloud gateway, stub files or a new file system.

"We allow the tiering of data to public or private clouds transparently," he said. "If I have a NetApp, a Dell EMC, or some other NAS system on-premises, just wire us in and give us a connection to a cloud. We look at inactive data and migrate it to the cloud. But if a user looks for the data, it looks as if it's still on local storage. So, say if the user has a NetApp array connected to Amazon Web Services, the data looks as if it's on the NetApp array when maybe 80 percent of it is sitting in AWS."

The Infinite IO offerings manage both the data and the metadata, and take advantage of deep packet inspection technology from the security industry to manage the metadata, Cree said. "It looks inside the packets for the reads and writes," he said.

Because 80 percent of most requests for data look for the metadata, the Infinite IO devices actually cause customers' storage devices to perform faster than they would normally, even those with flash storage, Cree said.

Cree declined to disclose Infinite IO's financial situation, other than to note that the company is a startup still in the "cash burn" growth mode.

Infinite IO paints a compelling value proposition for clients, said Mark Galyardt, executive vice president at XIOSS, an Atlanta-based solution provider that has worked with the vendor for about six months and has built up a good pipeline of pending orders for its technology.

Galyardt told CRN that the technology is sold as an appliance and can be dropped into an existing storage environment as easily as a network switch.

The technology solves the metadata bottlenecks that have plagued storage experts for years, Galyardt said.

"The IT people in our accounts don't want to change storage policies or procedures or workloads," he said. "With Infinite IO, nothing changes. When you work with a lot of large enterprises like we do, that is a big deal."

Most importantly, Infinite IO is not a "terabyte tollbooth," Galyardt said.

"A lot of performance solutions use a capacity-based pricing model," he said. "So this is a huge benefit to our largest customers."

Galyardt said he first became aware of Infinite IO after a friend involved with Northern California startups told him about it. He became so interested in the technology that he flew out to the company's headquarters to meet Cree.

"It was nice to look at something and see the value proposition," he said. "I know we have many customers who can benefit from this."

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