$4.6 Million Nugget for Portsmouth’s VKernel

VKernel makes virtual appliances that manage virtual servers running virtual operating systems. But today the Portsmouth, NH, company announced that it’s raised some decidedly non-virtual cash—$4.6 million of it, to be exact, in a venture funding round co-led by Waltham’s Polaris Venture Partners and San Francisco’s Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.

The company’s “appliances” are actually downloadable software modules that managers of corporate data centers can load onto the same servers they’re virtualizing using systems from other vendors such as VMware. The software takes care of two problems not directly addressed by virtualization systems themselves: analyzing server capacity to identify, predict, and sidestep bottlenecks when too many users are trying to access the same server resources; and tracking the utilization of virtualized systems, so that individual departments within a business can be charged the appropriate dollar amounts for accessing CPU time, memory, long-term storage space, and network capacity.

VKernel was launched in early 2007 by Alex Bakman, a serial entrepreneur who is also founder, chairman, and former CTO of Portsmouth-based Ecora Software, which helps companies prepare for external audits of their IT infrastructures. In 2005, the New Hampshire High Technology Council recognized Bakman as the state’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

VKernel says it plans to use the venture money to advance product development and beef up sales and marketing efforts. “We believe organizations will see VKernel technology as a vital component of successful virtualization projects,” said Polaris general partner Dave Barrett in the company’s official announcement of the funding round. (Barrett and Hummer Winblad general parter Mitchell Kertzman will join VKernel’s board.) “The company’s executive team has a solid track record of growing businesses from the ground up, and we fully anticipate VKernel will rapidly become a player in this market.”

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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