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Start-up wins Hitachi funding

Mountain View Data seals several million dollars in investments from Hitachi and others. And Hitachi mulls distributing the company's server software.

Hitachi has invested in Mountain View Data and is in talks to use or distribute the Tokyo-based start-up's software for managing large groups of servers, the companies said Wednesday.

Several other Japanese firms joined Hitachi in the funding, which totaled several million dollars, and another major Japanese participant is expected to join the investment round in May, Chief Executive Cliff Miller said. The CEO declined to reveal the exact amount raised, but said it was less than $10 million.

Miller, the former CEO, founded Mountain View Data as a company with software to power storage systems, but the company changed direction in February with the acquisition of Turbolinux's PowerCockpit software for managing software running on groups of Linux or Windows servers.

Miller hopes Hitachi will use the company's software in several ways, for example bundling it with blade servers or using it to control clusters of computers that ship as a processing component of medical imaging systems.

"Although we haven't inked any specific...deals, we've been having intense discussions with a number of their groups," Miller said. "Hopefully, we'll have something inked in the next couple months."

Nippon Venture Capital led the investment round. Other participants included , a storage hardware maker, Nissei Capital, Daiwa Bank and Kokusai Capital, which manages some Hitachi investments.

The funding will be used chiefly for research and development, but also for marketing and sales to a lesser degree. The company has between 30 and 40 employees and will hire "a few more," Miller said.

In addition, Miller said his company will try to rebuild its relationship with , a high-end Linux server seller that had an agreement to sell the PowerCockpit software to its financial services customers.

Egenera customers had been using PowerCockpit for high-availability clustering, in which one server can take over for another that crashed. Other customers, such as Internet service providers, use it for managing large numbers of servers, and a few use it for managing high-performance computing clusters.

Mountain View Data was based in Mountain View, Calif., but Miller moved the company's headquarters to Tokyo to be closer to its investors.