Packet, a startup that provides computing resources to customers, just got $9.4 million in a Series A funding round led by Softbank. That brings total funding in the New York-based company to about $11.17 million.
Founded two years ago, Packet specializes in providing fast “bare metal” servers that are dedicated to a single customer. Public cloud infrastructure relies heavily on virtualization technology that crams lots of workloads onto shared hardware. While that is great for many applications, it also slows down others, like databases. For those types of jobs, non-virtualized “bare metal” hardware may be a better choice.
Some cloud companies, notably IBM Softlayer (IBM), Rackspace (RAX), and Digital Ocean also offer bare metal options. The thinking at Packet is that while there’s no shortage of cloud providers offering inexpensive and powerful infrastructure, the world needs a supplier that can offer fast bare metal that is also programmable and flexible.
“Enterprises want a more scalable, secure and efficient way to run their applications——they want to adopt Google (GOOG)style infrastructure,” Brandon Philips, chief technology officer of CoreOS, a Packet partner, said via email. “Bringing modern infrastructure technology to everyone means enabling companies to get the benefits of running on any environment of choice and with Packet they get a cloud platform that supports infrastructure how Google does— on bare metal, with full automation.
And, with the advent of software containers, which also make efficient use of hardware but without the need for the hypervisors required in virtualization, more customers require lots of computing capability offered worldwide, according to Packet co-founder and chief executive Zachary Smith.
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“Today, there is a massive gap between non-automated bare metal and the highly programmable cloud experience that developers have come to expect from public clouds like Amazon (AMZN) Web Services,” Smith told Fortune via email. “Packet brings automation to bare metal.”
Smith knows about providing technology services to customers. He was previously vice president of hosting services at Internap (INAP), an Atlanta-based cloud and hosted services provider.
Softbank (SFTBY), which has been busy of late spending $32 billion to buy chip maker ARM Technologies, and launching a partnership with Alibaba to offer cloud services in Japan, has the vision that makes it a good partner for Packet, Smith added.
Packet fields data centers in New Jersey, Northern California, and Amsterdam. The Softbank relationship will help it drive into Asia as well.