Citrix founder's new startup targets data sprawl

VirtualWorks, Edward Iacobucci's new venture, emerges from stealth

Ed Iacobucci's new venture targets big data problems.

Citrix founder Edward Iacobucci is launching a startup called VirtualWorks Group that plans to organize the mountains of data overwhelming modern businesses.

VirtualWorks, founded in 2009 in Boca Raton, Fla., and emerging from stealth mode this week with $8.5 million from private investors, has built technology that indexes data from both local devices and cloud-based systems.

BACKGROUND: Citrix expands virtualization, from the data center to the iPad

The so-called Virtual Index Architecture is software that "works by indexing all types of data and virtualizing the content amassed by companies, so employees can rapidly and securely retrieve files from any application, location or device -- whether that data is structured or unstructured, stored in the cloud, or hosted locally," the company says.

Iacobucci, who led the team that created IBM's OS/2 operating system, co-founded Citrix in 1989, resigning his position as chairman in 2000. Iacobucci also served on the SCO Group's board of directors until departing in 2007, and founded a now-defunct commercial flight operation called DayJet.

"The exponential growth of data is only matched by its value to the enterprise," Iacobucci said in a press release. "With the rise of the mobile workforce, new digital media channels and a ten-fold growth of data in the last five years, organizations of all sizes are overwhelmed by data sprawl."

To be released this summer, VirtualWorks software indexes data across Microsoft SharePoint, Lotus Notes, intranets and many other sources, the company says. It is an "extensible framework that leverages a deep understanding of applications and stored metadata to render an image of all enterprise content across diverse applications, network and cloud architectures, data storage systems and formats," says an FAQ on the company website.

VirtualWorks will eventually publish its APIs to let third-party developers and ISVs create complementary applications. The company will preserve the security of data by integrating with Active Directory and other authentication systems.

VirtualWorks enters a growing field of companies tackling the "big data" problem. EMC is expanding its data analytics capabilities, and IBM recently said it will invest $100 million in the field. IBM's famous "Jeopardy!" computer Watson will also help customers get a handle on the massive amounts of data plaguing businesses.

According to EMC, more than 825 billion gigabytes of data have been created since Jan. 1, 2011.

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