FlashSoft Debuts With New Flash Optimization Software

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-06-28 Print this article Print

FlashSoft SE, which essentially turns SSD and PCIe flash into server-tier read-write cache, enables flash disks to become more cost-effective computing resources.

A brand-new software company that deals strictly with the optimization of NAND flash in enterprise servers made its debut June 28.

Mountain View, Calif.-based FlashSoft, positioning itself as "The Flash Virtualization Company," launched both itself and its first product with the announcement of its Series A funding of $3 million from Thomvest Ventures.

FlashSoft's software, FlashSoft SE, which essentially turns SSD and PCIe flash into server-tier read-write cache, enables flash disks to become more cost-effective computing resources, CEO Ted Sanford told eWEEK.

"We call it Tier Minus One," Sanford said. "It sits right beside the DRAM [dynamic random access memory]. The SSD itself would be Tier 0; a SAS hard disk drive would be Tier 1; and a SATA hard drive would be Tier 2."

FlashSoft SE, using algorithms that identify the hottest data and maintaining them on Tier Minus One so they are readily available for use, can turn 100MB of NAND flash into the equivalent of 1GB of flash, Sanford said.

Uses Capacity Only for Hottest Data

Using this new software, an IT shop can provide databases, applications and virtual machine environments with the performance benefit of having the entire data set on flash, with only a fraction of the data actually stored in flash, Sanford said. This makes enterprise flash-normally a much more expensive storage medium-much more cost-effective as it works with existing storage infrastructure.

FlashSoft contends that only 15 percent to 20 percent of business data should be considered "hot" data and needs to be kept on a Tier Minus One or Tier 0 flash disk. That's a major part of how FlashSoft works; it identifies hot data quickly by file type on its own, without needing human interaction.

Flash SSDs have always been known for high performance, but they commonly have two inherent integration problems with standard HHD servers, Sanford said.

"First, when used as primary data storage, flash memory cannot easily integrate with and leverage the benefits of existing storage systems infrastructure," Sanford said. "Secondly, storing all of an application's data on server-attached flash memory remains expensive. FlashSoft solves both of these."

In fact, Sanford said, FlashSoft actually reduces the processing burden on storage within a stand-alone server, across server clusters and throughout the data center because of the way it filters and stores only the most important data.

Sanford said the company is busy building a new technical community.

FlashSoft was founded by an experienced team from companies that include Veritas (now Symantec), Oracle and Symantec. Managing Director Don Butler of Thomvest Ventures will join the FlashSoft board of directors, Sanford said.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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