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SolidFire, a promising solid-state storage maker for cloud services, has finally launched into general availability and announced its first customers after a year of relatively low-profile activity.

The company came onto our radar a year ago when it raised $25 million in fresh funding on a simple promise: Its hardware and software would turbocharge a cloud’s performance. SolidFire sells powerful solid-state hard drives to cloud service providers, which in turn boost performance and reliability of those services.

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“Sometimes people label us a cloud company, but we’re really selling the systems to cloud providers,” CEO Dave Wright told VentureBeat. “We’re an infrastructure company at the end of the day.”

SolidFire’s first public customers are ViaWest, Databarracks, Calligo, and CloudSigma. While SolidFire solid-state drives can speed up all kinds of cloud applications — whether they are IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS — Wright said the majority of interest has been from infrastructure-as-a-service providers.

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Wright identified EMC as SolidFire’s single largest competitor. And while it might be easy to throw SolidFire into the same category sold-state drive startups like Pure Storage and Nimble Storage, it differentiates itself from those because SolidFire offers much larger amounts of storage to companies. Wright said SolidFire can scale up to a 1 petabyte solution. “Their largest systems are about the size of our smallest systems,” Wright said.

Boulder, Colo.-based SolidFire was founded in 2009 and has 75 full-time employees, more than double the amount it had a year ago. SolidFire has raised about $37 million to date from investors including New Enterprise Associates and Valhalla Partners. Wright says that the company might pursue more funding in the next year.

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