SoftIron aims to make US data centre servers great again with new funding



Flying the flag

With the help of more cash the firm aims to take advantage of its US ‘auditable provenance’ and be there when data centres consider their price needs when the pandemic ends.

SoftIron has secured $34m in new funding to extend the global market reach for its open source data centre connectivity solutions.

Its storage appliances are built around the open source Ceph software. And last week, the company announced its latest product, HyperSwitch, a top-of-rack network switch built on open source SONiC – the same open source software that powers Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

The latest Series B equity funding came from a group of existing investors led by co-founder Norman Fraser. Fraser is a serial IT entrepreneur whose previous successes include two IPO unicorn valuations, in the form of Vocalis (LSE: VOC, 1996) and Endava (NYSE: DAVA, 2018).

SoftIron will use the funding to expand its presence across North America, Europe and the APAC region, with a planned growth in sales, product marketing and support. In addition, the funding will strengthen engineering initiatives to build the firm’s portfolio of data centre appliances based on open source software.

SoftIron creates task-specific appliances for scale-out data centre solutions, with the aim of leading the pack on metrics around density, capacity, speed and heat emission. Its hardware is designed, developed and assembled in California and is purpose-built to optimise performance in data centres of all sizes.

The company’s HyperDrive software-defined storage portfolio was custom built to deliver optimal Ceph performance. The company has since expanded its offering to address the full spectrum of data centre requirements, most recently with the addition of HyperSwitch.

Because SoftIron has complete, end-to-end ownership of the entire design and manufacturing process, it says it is able to claim “auditable provenance” on its products, “meaning 100% complete transparency on the integrity of hardware and software”.

In the current geo-political climate, there is concern in some quarters that too many digital solutions are conceived and/or assembled in China. And SoftIron is ready to take advantage.

Phil Straw, CEO of SoftIron, said: “What’s most exciting for us is the realisation of our original vision holistically to address the needs of every aspect of today’s data centre. We had nothing to lose when we started out, so we did the unthinkable and built our appliances from scratch to address what we saw as the new normal: a flexible, adaptable, open-source based, software-defined data centre.”

Norman Fraser added: “We’re going to see a lot of budgets under pressure over the next year or two as the consequences of COVID-19 wash through the global economy.

“SoftIron stands ready with the right offer at the right time – much more performance for much less cost, with no vendor lock-in, with products manufactured right in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.”