SanDisk Invests in Flashy Cloud Startup Panzura

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Panzura, a maker of flash-based, cloud-enabled storage appliances, revealed that one of the investors behind its recent Series D haul of $25 million was SanDisk Ventures.

On June 6, Panzura announced that Matrix Partners, Khosla Ventures, Opus Capital and Chevron Technology Ventures — as in the oil and petrochemical company — had contributed to the company’s latest round of funding. To date, the startup has attracted $58 million in financial backing.

This week, it was announced that flash storage and solid-state drive maker SanDisk also forked over some funds. The reason: Panzura’s flash-filled take on cloud storage.

“Panzura’s innovative global NAS cloud infrastructure solution offers numerous benefits compared to traditional on-premise NAS offerings. Panzura is another excellent example of the important role flash memory is playing in the transformation of the enterprise,” said SanDisk’s chief strategy officer, Sumit Sadana, in a statement. The amount of SanDisk’s contribution to the funding round has not been disclosed.

The money, which is expected to carry the company through profitability, arrived on the heels of a “wildly successful” expansion into Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and customer wins in UK, Switzerland and the Nordics. According to the company, “Panzura grew its customer base by 700 percent in 2012 and has already exceeded 2012 bookings thus far in 2013.”

Panzura debuted in June 2010 alongside its Application Cloud Controller, an SSD-packed appliance designed to eliminate latency in cloud storage environments by acting as read/write cache. Not just any cache, according to the company’s president and co-founder Randy Chou.

“The ACC is not just a caching device or accelerator. It’s a storage device with application awareness embedded in it,” said Chou as his company’s tech emerged from stealth. “A SharePoint client, for example, talks directly to our storage device before the SharePoint Server. No changes are required on the applications,” he added.

Fast-forward three years, and the company is now betting that its close ties with a solid-state storage innovator will aid its efforts to ride the bleeding edge of a quickly-evolving enterprise storage market.

“SanDisk will join the Panzura board and bring its keen understanding of the SSD market to enhance further Panzura’s strategic planning. SSDs play an important role in Panzura’s local caching system and help provide LAN performance for cloud storage,” blogged Eric Thacker, Panzura’s Senior Director of Marketing.

“Access to deep insights into the trajectory of this technology bolsters Panzura’s ability to provide a killer storage solution to replace tape and local NAS,” added Thacker.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor and Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to Datamation, eWEEK, and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro.

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