CNEX Labs Inc., developer of a transformative architecture for solid state drive (SSD) controllers, today announced it has raised over $23 million in Series D venture capital from an investor group led by early investor Dell Technologies Capital (which led CNEX’s Series A round).
CNEX’s technology enables a new business model for the SSD market supplying enterprise storage and servers, hyperscale data centers and cloud computing platforms. CNEX’s patented, ground-up redesign of traditional SSD controller architecture plus its turn-key SSD design capability allow these customers to procure SSDs customized for their own needs, while reducing their exposure to the cyclical swings in SSD supply that have constrained business growth.
CNEX’s SSD controller technology includes a highly-programmable interface to NAND flash memory, allowing the same controller to work with multiple types of NAND; flexible Flash Translation Layer (FTL) control (either drive- or host-based), allowing easier optimization for different types of workloads; and proprietary hardware acceleration supporting key functions typically run on slower firmware.
These technologies enable high-volume SSD users to customize their drives to deliver higher throughput, lower power consumption and significantly better QoS (quality of service, measured as low and predictable latency), while achieving improved cost control.
“As one of the first investors in the 2014 Series A, we saw the potential for CNEX’s technology early on,” said Gregg Adkin, Managing Director, Dell Technologies Capital. “In an era of explosive data growth, CNEX’s technology allows hyperscalers and enterprise storage and server providers to use SSDs as a strategic differentiator, purpose-building hardware to suit their needs, while achieving significant cost savings.”
Strategic investors also include M12, Microsoft’s venture fund (which led CNEX’s Series C round), major semiconductor foundries, large storage and networking semiconductor companies and other new and existing strategic investors. Additional investors in this round include Sierra Ventures, Walden Venture Investments, Brightstone Venture Capital and others.
“As enterprise storage and server vendors, hyperscalers and cloud service providers rapidly embrace SSDs to meet the explosive demand for high performance storage, they want the ability to tailor SSDs for their needs and to gain greater control of their supply chains,” said Mark Geenen, founder and CEO of TrendFocus. “CNEX Labs is positioned to help them do that through its technology and its disruptive and differentiated approaches to SSD development and procurement. This investment from Dell Technologies Capital, Microsoft Ventures and other industry leaders is a major validation of their approach.”
“CNEX’s breakthroughs will advance innovation in flash storage design, allowing hyperscale users to build SSD-based storage optimized for the very different needs of high-volume, multi-tenant cloud platforms,” said Rashmi Gopinath, Partner, M12. “CNEX’s design enables improvements in performance, QoS and power efficiency.”
“CNEX Labs technology relieves customers from the mercy of a commoditized market and puts them back in control of their own destinies,” said CNEX Labs CEO and Co-Founder Alan Armstrong. “We are proud to have achieved such strong backing and validation from industry partners and investors.”
About CNEX Labs Inc.
CNEX is a privately held company founded in 2013 and funded by venture capital and strategic investments from Fortune 500 companies in storage and networking. CNEX delivers innovative storage semiconductor and software solutions, partnering with solid-state storage manufacturers, data center and systems customers to develop revolutionary NVMe and Open-Channel SSD controller ASICs that deliver high-performance with low and predictable latency, scalability and flexibility for software-defined-storage. CNEX controller products are key to accelerating the capabilities of big data computing and analytics for the next generation of cloud, hyperscale and enterprise data centers. For more information, please visit www.cnexlabs.com.