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All-flash storage array startup WhipTail secures funding

WhipTail, the all-flash storage array vendor tucked away in Whippany, N.J., closed a Series B funding round and revealed a high-profile customer this week.

Although WhipTail failed to disclose the amount of its funding, but industry sources say it was about $9.5 million. That’s not in the same ballpark of the $35 million and $40 million funding rounds its rival Violin Memory secured last year, but WhipTail CEO Dan Crain said his company is close to profitable with close to 100 employees and is picking up about 20 customers per quarter.

“We are well-capitalized,” Crain said.

WhipTail bills its XLR8r as a cost-effective enterprise all-flash array, using multi-level cell (MLC) memory drives. The vendor goes after customers with a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), but Crain said it serves many types of industries.

AMD’s System Optimization Engineering Department said it replaced 480 15,000 RPM Fibre Channel drives with WhipTail’s solid-storage arrays for a 50-times improvement in latency and 40% performance increase.

AMD did not say how much flash capacity it bought from WhipTail, but Crain said is average deal is in the 25 TB to 30 TB range.

WhipTail isn’t the only all-flash array vendor out there. Nimbus Data, SolidFire, Texas Memory Systems, and Violin have all-SSD systems, Pure Storage is in beta and the large storage vendors will likely follow. Unlike a lot of the all-flash vendors, though, Crain said “We don’t compete on price. We solve a myriad of problems around performance.

“The field is still narrow for credible SSD manufacturers. The storage industry inherited NAND, and there is a lot of science and engineering that has to go into making NAND work in the enterprise,” he said. “We understand this stuff. We treat NAND and flash memory like flash, we don’t treat it like a hard disk.”

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