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Cash rains DOWN on the Cloud - Nasuni trousers $20m

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Cash is raining down on cloud storage startups - and now Nasuni has netted a $20m wad of C-round funding.

Nasuni provides a gateway to online storage with a local cache of files for branch offices. It recently added the capability for block data access - NAS plus unified storage, or Nasuni for short. The clouds can be private or public, by the way.

Investors piled in, but the lead sugar daddy in this C-round is a secret, merely being described as a "key investor". Could it be a mainstream storage supplier eyeing up a manufacturing relationship with Nasuni - or even acquiring the company?

CEO Andres Rodriguez said: "This is not storage tiering or cloud archive, but primary storage delivered as a service. Combining this type of true innovation with the fact that our revenue has grown year over year by a factor of ten, and you can understand why investor interest was so strong."

Nasuni says its order book grew 250 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the year-ago quarter; twice as much data is now managed by its products compared to then. It says it's had a 100 per cent renewal rate from its enterprise customers.

The new cash will be used to fund more engineering development and grow Nasuni's sales and marketing teams. Total funding for Nasuni is now $43m following an $8m A-round in December 2009 and a $15m B-round in December 2010.

Nasuni's pitch is that existing data centre storage arrays are being disaggregated: primary data is going to flash storage and everything else is going off to the cloud. Users and servers still see the same storage resources, but the data and hardware is distributed differently behind the existing file and block interfaces.

Cloud gateway startups take an axe to storage array controllers, chopping them off and replacing them with their own boxes. These arrays are dinosaurs, according to people like Rodriguez, and they're facing imminent extinction.

El Reg storage desk isn't at all sure about that. One should never under-estimate the adaptability and agility of mainstream suppliers, such as Dell, EMC, HDS, HP - yes HP, IBM, NetApp and Oracle. Building a cloud storage gateway to their own storage arrays in the cloud would not be that hard. Look at NetApp's V-series, an ONTAP virtualising head that pops a front-end on third-party arrays that happen to be in the data centre.

Add a network link and interface software and voila, they could be in the cloud.

A key question remains: will they do it and will they do it fast enough to stop Nasuni and its peers taking business away from them? ®

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