GreenBytes Scores $7 Million VC Round, Takes Aim At VDI Costs


GreenBytes, a startup that claims to make virtual desktops less expensive, earlier this week scored $7 million in Series C funding from Generation Investment Management LLP and Battery Ventures.

Virtual desktops at scale use tons of storage. If it's Flash storage -- which helps reduce latency, a longtime VDI albatross -- the expense involved can soon make a deployment seem like a bad idea.

GreenBytes uses deduplication technology, which makes sure data isn't getting backed up multiple times unnecessarily, to cut the amount of Flash needed in VDI environments.

[Related: Startup Green Cloud Technologies Nabs $5.6 Million Funding Round]

In so doing, GreenBytes says it can facilitate so-called persistent desktops, or virtual desktops that look and feel like physical ones. Steve O'Donnell, CEO of GreenBytes, told CRN his company's technology is well suited for deduplicating VDI desktop images of all sizes.

"You don't have to overprovision software because deduplication software isn't getting in the way. That translates to larger numbers of VDI users and scalability," O'Donnell said in an interview. "Deduplication is very complex, but we deliver it with zero latency."

Founded in 2007, GreenBytes sells an appliance, called IO-Offload, to telcos and MSPs around the world. One MSP partner is using it to deliver 100,000 desktop-as-a-service seats to a customer, according to O'Donnell.

GreenBytes also sells vIO, a virtual storage appliance that includes technology from IO-Offload and exists as a piece of software that's installed in the hypervisor. "It does all the things the appliance does, but with the hardware you already have," O'Donnell said.

GreenBytes spends much of its energies on developing proprietary storage optimization technologies -- more than half of its staff of 54 employees is engineers, O'Donnell said.

GreenBytes has a patent pending on Flash optimization technology that increases storage efficiency and performance by mixing RAID types across multiple drives, O'Donnell told CRN. "This allows you to create small storage arrays that don't need Flash to operate efficiently," he said.

GreenBytes partners with Cisco, HP and IBM, and Fusion-io, among other vendors. OEMs can assemble the hardware they want and deduplicate the Flash memory and offer VDI at a lower cost.

O'Donnell said GreenBytes is working with larger players on integrations, and in the next few months will see major server vendors launching products with its technology baked in.

GreenBytes also works with a number of SAN vendors, including Violin Memory, which use its technology to speed storage performance, O'Donnell said.

GreenBytes has headquarters in Providence, R.I., and London, U.K., and has raised around $27 million in VC funding to date.

PUBLISHED APRIL 5, 2013