Schooner rakes in $20 million for data access appliances

Flash-based servers speed up Web 2.0 and the cloud

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Second-round funding for start-up that builds high-powered data access appliances for Internet data centers.

A start-up that builds high-powered data access appliances for Internet data centers has secured $20 million in second-round funding to expand distribution.

Schooner Information Technology, out of stealth mode since April, boosts the performance of Intel-based servers by adding flash memory, 1 Gigabit and 10G Ethernet connections, the Linux operating system and a choice between the Memcached distributed memory caching system and MySQL database.

The appliances are designed for Web 2.0 and cloud computing data centers where consolidating onto fewer servers is a major goal.

The new funding round of $20 million, announced Monday, was led by Menlo Ventures and “will allow Schooner to further develop its datacenter technology and expand its worldwide distribution activities to meet market demand,” according to Schooner.

Schooner previously obtained $15 million in financing from CMEA Capital and Redpoint Ventures, both of which also contributed money to the current round.

Schooner was founded in 2007 by CEO John Busch and CTO Thomas McWilliams, both veterans of Sun Microsystems.

Schooner claims to deliver eight times the performance of traditional servers, with appliances that cost $45,000. The machines are based on the IBM System x3650 M2 with Intel's latest Xeon processors. Each Schooner appliance contains 500GB of flash memory, 64GB of dynamic RAM, and eight Intel processing cores capable of running 16 threads simultaneously.

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