A rare mainframe startup gets heavyweight backing
Intel has thrown its backing behind Israeli mainframe-to-cloud storage startup Model9, with the chip giant’s corporate venture capital arm leading a $9 million Series A round.
Mainframes continue to underpin substantial workloads globally. In the financial services sector, they underpin central bank workloads, as well as processing over 29 billion ATM transactions and $7.7 trillion in credit card payments annually.
By allowing ETL from mainframe-to-cloud the startup aims to help users sharply cut RTO (Restore Time Objectives) slowed by the need to back-up from tape.
“Mainframes store 70 percent of the world’s business data,” said Anthony Lin, a VP and senior MD at Intel Capital. “We identified Model9 as having a first-mover edge with a software-only solution to extract and load mainframe data from the mainframe to any cloud or to any on-prem storage through a standard TCP/IP protocol.
“This ability opens up a variety of DR, Archive and Storage use cases… Model9’s solution enables conversion of mainframe-compatible file formats to object storage, thus allowing the company’s customers to utilise the latest business analytics, big data and AI solutions to gain insights from previously untapped data sets.”
A Model9 case study gives the example of a regional bank in Israel.
Its legacy system relied on backups written to physical tapes using IBM HSM software for daily backup and disaster recovery (DR): “DR tests often ended in failure, with data loss, since the tapes were unreadable due to I/O errors. Human intervention was also required, resulting in long backup and recovery times. In addition, the backup software
was running on core mainframe CPUs, increasing billable MSUs during monthly R4HA (Rolling 4-Hour Average) peaks and affecting MLC (Monthly License Charge) costs.”
The whitepaper adds: “To comply with financial regulations in Israel, the bank was
transporting the tapes to a remote DR site once a week. Further, the tapes were not encrypted due to possible negative effects on RTO, so the data was at risk. Finally,
alternative solutions like tape robots and virtual tape, had to be considered because the old tape drives were going out of service.”
Model9 claims to have helped the bank cut RTO from a matter of days to hours, improved RPO (Restore Point Objective) for Disaster Recovery from one week to one day and eliminated manual tape processing and logistics.
Model9 CEO Gil Peleg told Computer Business Review: “The mainframe file system is complex and like no other in this galaxy and we had to develop innovative, low-level, patented technology to organized mainframe data over cloud storage.
He added: “One of our most unique advantages is our highly skilled and experienced team of ex-IDF computer center technologists (the largest Mainframe installation in the region) with over 150 years of collective mainframe experience among them.
“Due to the unique skills required, there are no startups in this market.
“Our main competition is from incumbent storage companies IBM and EMC and IT software vendors such as CA and Compuware… We support every cloud and object storage provider — AWS, GCP, Azure, IBM, EMC, NetApp, etc. — which is critical for companies that don’t want to be locked into one vendor.”
The Series A round also included participation from existing investors StageOne, North First Ventures and GlenRock Israel. The funds will be used to fuel global expansion and to further enhance Model9’s technology and product offerings, which have been successfully implemented by some of the world’s leading financial services institutes, government agencies and transportation companies.