OpenDrives, which provides network-attached storage solutions for enterprise clients, announced a series B funding round today. The company did not disclose the exact amount but reports that the round approaches $20 million and was led by IAG Capital Partners. OpenDrives plans to use the capital for product development, including introducing high-performance computing hybrid cloud storage capabilities to new markets.
The company is also going public with its own investment in a startup called Ctrl IQ, whose technology stack will help OpenDrives scale its data workflows and bring HPC to enterprises. This news, combined with OpenDrives’ recent product series launches — like its redesigned Atlas 2.0 software and customizable NAS Hardware — show the evolution of its nearly 10-year data journey. These enterprise software and hardware products were disaggregated, or scaled out, for the first time just last year.
In June, OpenDrives released a distributed file system platform with an author system that enterprises can customize with performance tiers. One feature of the hardware is containerization support.
According to OpenDrives CPO Sean Lee, software containerization is key to data strategy. “We see a lot of development in that space with Docker and Kubernetes and being a NAS product,” Lee told VentureBeat in an interview. “We found that we were only as fast as everything in between us and the end user. So networking configuration was really important, workstation at the other end was important, the operating system, the application …”
OpenDrives’ storage products are scale-up devices enterprises use to solve problems with high-bandwidth, low-latency data. The solutions are organized around protecting data, scaling it, and integrating it into different workflows via software architectures that follow API’s standard open protocol — including proprietary ones that can otherwise make integrations difficult, especially for clients with less robust IT teams.
The company was founded by media and entertainment professionals in Culver City, and it continues to solve data problems for the industry. Lee discussed OpenDrives’ work with Disney to help create a new approach to content distribution. “OpenDrives functions in a large expanse code farm, so transcoding is the conversion of video formats from one form to another,” he said. The end product needs to consume the source material, which comes from different devices, resolutions, and sizes, and format it differently to broadcast it quickly. OpenDrives operates at the middle of Disney’s existing code farm workflow to expand those capabilities.
James DiVito, OpenDrives product director added, “We come from a media and entertainment background and it’s still our major vertical, even though we’re growing into these other ones.” DiVito used Netflix studios’ House of Cards series as an example NAS solutions use case. “We drive consistency, sustain performance, and reduce latency,” he said.
OpenDrives’ products have also helped capture and use data from live events, like e-Sports conventions with dozens of camera streams for online content distribution. “That’s called a growing file workflow, where literally, as the file is being written… being recorded from a camera on a particular stage, into a storage system.. the editor can actually grab that file and begin working with it,” said Lee.
And OpenDrives has specific plans to allocate these series B funds to product development for new uses. In 2021, with Nvidia, the company intends to release a new fabric that offloads CPU processes to GPU to help make containerization and compute processes within the overall HPC infrastructure more efficient.
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