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Tape drive maker Ecrix gets more funding

The small company is trying to benefit from several trends, including the emergence of storage area networks and the Linux operating system.

Ecrix, a maker of a new type of tape drive, has won a $5 million investment from August Capital.

Along with $25 million Ecrix secured in July, the company has raised $30 million in its third round of funding. Ecrix, based in Boulder, Colo., builds tape drives that use a new type of data transfer technology; its first product, the VXA-1 costs $899 and can store 66GB of compressed data.

Ecrix is trying to benefit from several trends, including the emergence of storage area networks (SANs) and the Linux operating system. A SAN is a collection of storage devices on a separate computer network. One of the anticipated benefits is the ability to back up data onto tape drives without burdening a company's primary network.

The company also is trying to win a foothold in the nascent Linux market. Ecrix isn't the only one, though; Hewlett-Packard, Exabyte and others are all participating in a program to certify tape drives for use with Linux.

Unlike usual tape drives, the machines from Ecrix read and write data in packets rather than in a continuous stream, a feature that makes it easier to match the spinning of the tape drive with the inconstant flow of information from the computer, the company said.

Electronics manufacturer Aiwa will build the Ecrix VXA model drives, the company said.