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ClearSky Data Lands $27M To Boost Storage Network

Boston-based enterprise storage provider ClearSky Data said it has raised $27 million in a Series B investment round led by Polaris Partners, along with Akamai Technologies. The money will be used by ClearSky to refine its managed service delivery model for enterprise storage, which the company said combines the performance and availability of primary storage with the economics and scalability of the cloud.

ClearSky made a splash over the summer with a plan to offer a multi-tiered, fully managed, hybrid data-management storage solution, based on classifications of data ranging from “hot” to “cold,” or from most to least critical.

The company’s solution installs an appliance in the data center that contains the client’s most important data. It then has a second level of storage at a co-location facility within 120 miles of the client for less crucial data, then Amazon S3 storage is used for the client’s least essential data.

Three-Tiered Approach

By spreading data across three tiers, ClearSky said that its customers can save money and increase security by having the most important data nearby for the least latency, which is the time needed for data to travel from its location to where it’s needed. ClearSky said that its software and algorithms manage and move the data between the three tiers based on a proprietary formula of usage patterns, policy and customer needs.

The company also offers other data management services, including de-duplication, backup and disaster recovery. ClearSky said it will use the $27 million to grow its sales, marketing and operations organizations, and add new locations in major metropolitan areas. The most recent cash infusion brings the total investment in the company to $39 million.

With the growth of cloud computing and the availability of new on-demand services, CloudSky said it is able to leverage those elements to sidestep many of the challenges of traditional storage systems, many of which are inefficient parts of legacy infrastructures that can’t handle growing data needs.

The company said its fully managed service automatically caches data across a network of geographically distributed layers, making data available to enterprise users where and when it’s needed. ClearSky said its solution takes care of the storage provisioning and management chores that customers have often had to deal with on their own in the past.

Expansion Plans

ClearSky is led by Ellen Rubin, the founder of CloudSwitch Inc. Apart from its Boston headquarters, ClearSky has co-location facilities running in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. The company currently has 40 employees, with plans to use some of the new funding to hire additional workers and expand to other locations.

One of ClearSky’s investors, Akamai, runs one of the world’s largest distributed computing platforms. “ClearSky’s global storage network is the way for enterprises to move their data to the cloud with the security, performance and availability they need to succeed,” said Akamai vice president and chief technology officer Andy Champagne in a statement.

Champagne said that Akamai knows firsthand how to build a global network that meets the stringent requirements of enterprise customers. “We look forward to working with the ClearSky team to help customers worldwide as they adopt this new approach to enterprise storage,” he said.

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