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Marathon reels in another $6.5m

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Fault tolerant and high availability clustering software maker Marathon Technologies has received the second part of a $13.5m round of equity funding that the company lined up late last year.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Marathon has sold $13.5m in equity in total, but the company did not disclose who kicked in the money or how much came in during this round. The Boston Business Journal reports that $6.5m came in during this second traunche of funding from ten investors, with $7m coming in last August from unnamed investors.

Of its many investors, Atlas Venture, Sierra Ventures, and Longworth Venture Partners have kicked in dough to the company. Since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2003, Marathon has raised $27.8m and has completely revamped its product line.

Last September, after getting the first traunche of cash, Marathon tapped Jim Welch to be its chief executive officer. Welch was vice president of product operations at data integration software maker Ascential Software (which was spun out of database maker Informix) when IBM shelled out $1.1bn to acquire it in March 2005. (IBM had bought the database half of Informix back in 2001 for $1bn). Both bits of software have played key roles in the development of the InfoSphere data warehouse software business, which has grown to about $600m a year according to a statement put out by Marathon upon Welch's appointment.

Marathon currently has more than 2,500 customers using its everRun clustering and fault tolerance software for physical and virtual servers. Marathon is based in Littleton, Massachusetts. It was formed in 1993 by a group of fault tolerant computing engineers from the former Digital Equipment Corp who worked on that company's VAXft fault tolerant server line.

The company started out doing hardware-based fault tolerant clustering and then moved on to use more flexible software-based techniques, embodied in the everRun products, to accomplish the same levels of high availability that used to require hardware lockstepping.

What Marathon has not done, and perhaps should do, is expand beyond supporting the clustering of Windows with everRun 2G and fault tolerance with the everRun HA and FT products solely based on the XenServer hypervisor. Microsoft's Hyper-V and VMware's ESX Server have larger market share on X64 servers. But there are two issues with going more broadly: Marathon has failover products that compete with those from Microsoft and VMware, and the hypervisors from Microsoft and VMware are closed source, which means Marathon needs their help to support them with its everRun suite.

In a separate announcement, Marathon has partnered with NEC Phillips Unified Solutions to integrate its everRun tools with the server-based communications systems created and sold by the NEC-Phillips partnership in Europe. NEC, you will remember, shuttered its PC business in Europe last February and said it would farm out production of its servers for EMEA. But it still sells servers and various turnkey products in Europe. ®

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