Avaneidi secures €8M to enhance SSD endurance, security

Italian startup Avaneidi has received €8 million ($8.6 million) in Series A funding, and is planning to use this to extend SSD endurance by 1.9x, increase security, and lower power consumption, using drive-specific flash translation layer (FTL) software.

The company was formally founded in April by Milan-based CEO Dr Rino Micheloni, an ex-Microsemi VP and Fellow in its Flash Signal Processing labs. He left in March 2021, spent a year as a research fellow at the University of Ferrara, then went freelance as a senior tech exec before starting Avaneidi. Dr Lorenzo Zuolo is Avaneidi’s CTO and also an ex-employee of Microsemi’s Flash Signal Processing Labs and University of Ferrara alumnus. Microsemi is now called Microchip.

Dr Rino Micheloni, Avaneidi
Dr Rino Micheloni

Micheloni said: “Our mission at Avaneidi is to pave the way for more secure, efficient, and sustainable data storage solutions. This funding will keep us at the forefront of the market, enabling us to accelerate the development of our enterprise SSDs and all-inclusive storage appliances. Unlike off-the-shelf products, our solutions address cyber security and data governance issues by leveraging a tight hardware-software co-design while offering extensive customization options.”

Avaneidi is developing enterprise storage systems based on a multi-level “security by design” approach, claiming to look after cybersecurity, protection, and data reliability for enterprise-grade applications. It claims its storage tech can boost performance and security, and reduce energy consumption.

The company uses tailor-made chips and “advanced algorithms,” providing customers with a bespoke offering it says is optimized for performance and cybersecurity applications. Its claims its storage appliances offer “a cost-effective, highly efficient alternative to traditional storage solutions, featuring extended drive lifetime, improved security and significant energy savings.”

We asked a few questions to find out more and discovered it is using drive-specific flash translation layers (FTLs).

Blocks & Files: How much will an Avaneidi SSD boost performance over a mainstream manufacturer’s TLC SSD at any capacity level? How much will it reduce energy consumption?

Avaneidi: Thanks to our proprietary error correction code, we can extend the lifespan of the drive by 1.9x compared to off-the-shelf drives. Power saving per IOPS is 25 percent.

Blocks & Files: What is the capacity range of an Avaneidi SSD product? What will its sequential read/write bandwidth and random read/write IOPS be? 

Avaneidi: Our current implementation is 8 TB. As of today, we don’t plan to sell the drive in the open market. Our drive will be used in our Storage Appliance. Thanks to our proprietary drive management system, we can squeeze higher performance (even from off-the-shelf SSDs) by leveraging a workload-friendly architecture. This is the main reason why we won’t publish data about bandwidth and IOPS. The comparison with other vendors wouldn’t be fair.

Blocks & Files: How will it boost security over a standard enterprise SSD?

Avaneidi: We act at two levels to boost security. Each SSD (or group of SSDs) can have a different FTL. In other words, even if a hacker would find a way to access one SSD, he wouldn’t be able to use the same recipe for another SSD. As far as we know, nobody offers a drive-specific FTL.

Blocks & Files: Will Avaneidi build appliances as well as drives?

Avaneidi: Yes. Our main focus is the Storage Appliance. We call it “S4S,” which stands for Security-for-Storage and Storage-for-Security, [and] our SSD, together with many other security features, is the core, again, thanks to its drive-specific FTL.  

Avaneidi says it is targeting “organizations and industries that are highly sensitive to data governance and security,” particularly in the field of AI applications, naming the finance, defense, automotive and healthcare industries. It claims it has “attracted the attention of major industry players. Negotiations and preliminary agreements are in place to validate and expand the market reach of its innovative products.”

The funding came from United Ventures. Managing partner Massimiliano Magrini said: “By channeling resources into AI infrastructure like Avaneidi’s, we aim to facilitate the development of technologies that will redefine industries and transform tomorrow’s society.”