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March 17, 2013

Rose-Hulman graduate works ‘inside the box’

Ready, business partner create new concept to form data center

TERRE HAUTE — Even as a Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology freshman, Jeff Ready had an entrepreneurial spirit. “My intent from the beginning was to start a company,” he said.

The type of company he would create was less clear. Whatever the product, it was bound to have something to do with Ready’s major, computer science. And, sure enough, he was in business before being handed his diploma in 1996, having connected with equally smart and enterprising students, including his longtime business partner, Scott Loughmiller, another 1996 computer science alumnus from Brazil.

This collaboration has found success building innovative companies from California to Indiana that tap into the right market at the right time. The latest startup is Indianapolis-based Scale Computing.

“We sell data center infrastructure for small and midsize companies,” said Ready, the company’s CEO. IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are already players in this business, but Scale Computing’s new HC3 product offers a new way to set up a data center.

The HC3 is a data center-in-a-box concept. Ready draws similarities to someone purchasing a car. You could go out and buy the engine, seats, transmission and door panels from separate companies. Then, you could assemble your own car.

“That’s what IT professionals do today,” Ready said. Companies piece together a complex data center with servers, storage systems, networking and other components from a variety of manufacturers.

 HC3 eliminates ongoing licensing fees for the hypervisor, leverages open source technologies and simplifies support with a single vendor.

“It’s easier, cheaper [by as much as 75 percent], more reliable and it’s what you need,” said Ready, former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Indiana Venture Center in Indianapolis. “From a business perspective, it’s a pretty radical change in the way things are done…The response has been fabulous, and we’ve gotten rave reviews.”

Bill Gurley, partner at Benchmark Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., said, “Scale Computing is at the forefront of virtualization hyperconvergence. Scale is able to remove both the complexity and cost of CPU/storage virtualization with their HC3 product..”

Scale is gaining a reputation for bringing technological innovation to the IT world, twice listed by Forbes among the most promising companies in the U.S.

With HC3, the Scale has raised $12 million in a Series D round of investor funding, scaled up to about 1,200 customers and 60 employees, with 15 to 20 additional hires likely this year.

 

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