London-based tech startup SoftIron raises $34M in Series B funding to accelerate global expansion | Tech News

SoftIron, a London, England-based tech startup and builder of performance-optimized data center appliances, announced today that it has secured $34 million in Series B equity funding to expand its presence across North America, Europe, and the APAC region with planned growth in sales, product marketing, and support. The round came from group of its existing investors led by co-founder Norman Fraser. In addition, the funding will strengthen engineering initiatives to build its portfolio of data center appliances based on leading open source software solutions.

Founded in 2012 by Norman Fraser and Phil Straw, SoftIron is a provider of task-specific appliances for scale-out data center solutions. Their superior, purpose-built hardware is designed, developed and assembled in California, and they are the only manufacturer to offer auditable provenance. SoftIron’s HyperDrive® software-defined, enterprise storage portfolio runs at wire-speed and is custom-designed to optimize Ceph. HyperSwitch™ is their line of next-generation, top-of-rack switches built to maximize the performance and flexibility of SONiC. HyperCast™ is their high-density, concurrent 4K transcoding solution, for multi-screen, multi-format delivery. SoftIron unlocks greater business value for enterprises by delivering best-in-class products, free from software and hardware lock-in.

SoftIron creates task-specific appliances for scale-out data center solutions, delivering industry-leading performance across metrics including density, efficiency, capacity, speed and heat emission. Its hardware is designed, developed and assembled in California and is purpose-built to optimize the performance of best-in-class open-source software for today’s hyper-scale and SMB data centers.

Co-founders Phil Straw, Mark Chen and Norman Fraser set out to disrupt the storage sector and challenge legacy storage vendor solutions with their HyperDrive® software-defined storage portfolio, which was custom built to deliver optimal Ceph performance. The company has since expanded its offering to address the full spectrum of data center requirements, most recently with the addition of HyperSwitch™, a next-generation top-of-rack switch built to maximize the performance and flexibility of SONiC. Because SoftIron has complete, end-to-end ownership of the entire design and manufacturing process, it is the only vendor able to claim auditable provenance on its products, meaning 100% complete transparency on the integrity of its hardware and software.

“What’s most exciting for us is the realization of our original vision holistically to address the needs of every aspect of today’s data center,” said Phil Straw, CEO of SoftIron. “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 center. I’m proud to say we are now well on our way to being a full spectrum computer company. We are no longer just building a storage appliance; we are offering a coherent end-to-end solution that I believe will revolutionize the enterprise data center. Coupled with our auditable hardware and “Secure Provenance” promise, we are well-positioned to take our business to the next level.”

“We’ve spent the last few years flying under the radar, honing our vision and working hard to deliver it through genuine, cutting-edge technological wins,” said Harry Richardson, Chief Scientist at SoftIron. “Now to be able to bring the result to market at scale is a tremendous validation for the team and for our vision to deliver purpose-built hardware that maximizes the flexibility and power of open-source software-defined solutions. We’ve got some truly great things in store for organizations looking to leverage open source and transition their mission-critical computing away from proprietary vendor lock-in.”

Commenting on the investment Fraser said, “I’m backing SoftIron because it’s ripped up the old enterprise hardware play book in favour of an approach that meets the needs of this extraordinary moment in time. Its products are massively differentiated, offering step change performance at huge savings in datacenter rack space, energy and total cost of ownership. 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, and products with unprecedented security properties, designed and manufactured right in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley.”

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