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Level 5 Networks Raises $30 Million in Series B Funding From Top-Tier Investors; Revolutionizes Data Center Productivity With Industry's First Cost Effective Ethernet-Based Solution Designed to Eliminate Server I/O Bottlenecks.

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Level 5 Networks, a leading developer of high-speed server interconnect solutions, today announced $30 million in series B funding from Oak Investment Partners, Accel Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and IDG Ventures. Level 5 Networks also announced general availability of the first solution in its product line, EtherFabric(TM). EtherFabric is a completely Ethernet-compatible, high-performance network solution designed to improve server CPU efficiency by over two times, doubling server performance and enabling enterprises to evolve their data centers without giving up the existing Ethernet compatibility fundamental to controlling costs. To view today's related product announcement, please visit

Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com, fully supports Level 5 Networks' innovations, stating, "Ethernet has obtained ubiquity by evolving to higher levels of performance while maintaining full backward compatibility. Level 5 Networks has adopted this time-tested approach of maintaining full system compatibility, and has created a solution that delivers great customer benefit. EtherFabric will stall the adoption of non-compatible solutions such as iWarp and InfiniBand."

"Level 5 Networks' recent $30 million series B funding round clearly signifies our EtherFabric product line is breakthrough technology with strong interest from top-tier customers," said Dan Karr, President and CEO of Level 5 Networks. "We are actively engaged with the top server OEMs and believe EtherFabric will become mainstream in the data center."

The Ethernet currently in use was never designed for today's high-performance environments, and as a result, the interconnects between systems have become one of the most significant limiters of overall data center performance, causing bottlenecks throughout. Other newly proposed networking technologies, such as iWarp and InfiniBand, lack compatibility with the existing network infrastructure, making them too disruptive and costly to implement.

Unlike those solutions, the EtherFabric high-speed server interconnect products from Level 5 Networks maintain software and hardware compatibility with the existing environment while reducing the number of servers required by up to 50 percent. This reduction in capital and operating expense is a direct result of EtherFabric requiring fewer computing resources from the host server CPU to transfer network data, while also enabling the communication between servers to occur more quickly and at higher speeds. This lets servers respond more quickly to client requests and get more processing done in less time.

Targeted at all Fortune 2000 companies, with accentuated utility in data-intensive industries such as bio-IT, gas and oil, financial services, and e-commerce, EtherFabric supports the trends toward data center consolidation, grid computing, utility computing, on-demand computing, and high-performance computing.

About Funding

Level 5 Networks' latest round of funding was led by Oak Investment Partners from its $1.5 billion fund raised in 2004. Level 5 Networks will use the $30 million series B investment to continue development of future generations of high-performance Ethernet solutions and to support the market penetration of Level 5 Networks' products and services.

About Level 5 Networks

Level 5 Networks helps Fortune 2000 companies maximize the return on their investment in data center hardware and software by enabling servers to respond more quickly to client requests and to get more processing done in less time. The company's EtherFabric is the only interconnect solution that provides high performance and complete compatibility with existing data center software and hardware infrastructure. Level 5 Networks' founding team members are world-class researchers in high-performance networking who built the world's fastest LAN in 2000.

Level 5 Networks and EtherFabric are registered trademarks of Level 5 Networks. Other names are property of their respective owners.

Industry Validation for Level 5 Networks Strategy and Products

"Ethernet has obtained ubiquity by evolving to higher levels of performance while maintaining full backward compatibility. Level 5 Networks has adopted this time-tested approach of maintaining full system compatibility, and has created a solution that delivers great customer benefit. EtherFabric will stall the adoption of non-compatible solutions such as iWARP and InfiniBand." -- Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com

"EtherFabric helps enterprises finally realize Ethernet's full potential. Because the solution does not require any changes to existing applications, operating systems or protocols, it has a very low impact on existing infrastructures, and is uniquely poised to become a ubiquitous offering. By providing significant performance gains without requiring users to accept the risk of changing how the system is used, Level 5 Networks is delivering what could very well be the key to Ethernet evolution." -- Vernon Turner, group vice president and general manager, Enterprise Computing, IDC

"Oak Investment Partners is delighted to be an investor in Level 5 Networks. The company now has the capital resources to bring to market its highly cost-effective and enabling 1 and 10 gigabit Ethernet acceleration technology. The Level 5 Networks technology will extend the Ethernet standard to all areas of cluster computing, storage networking and high performance computing, which are currently served only by expensive, non-standard and specialized networks." -- Bandel Carano, general partner, Oak Investment Partners

"Some of the major issues in the use of molecular dynamics applications have been the difficulty of achieving scalability, and the high degree of difficulty in getting these applications to run on new clustering technologies. EtherFabric is a breakthrough on both ease-of-use and scalability and thus promises to have a very positive effect on the progress of fields that use molecular dynamics applications, such as pharmaceutical drug research." -- Dr. Phil Williams, EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow and Reader in Theoretical Biophysics, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham

"Level 5 Networks' EtherFabric technology delivers an attractive solution for increasing the performance of high-performance data center environments. The combination of high-performance operation and standards-based design allows customers to quickly deploy and benefit from this technology. EtherFabric interface cards together with Foundry's low latency Ethernet switches will provide customers with a very cost-effective solution for their high-performance data center interconnect." -- Mark Danckert, director of alliances, Foundry Networks

"Level 5 Networks promises Fortune 2000 companies a host of tangible benefits at a very reasonable cost. The technology is single ended, meaning you can load it on any TCP device and that device gets faster and more efficient, without worrying about what is running on the other end of the connection. It is transparent to applications and it leverages standard Ethernet, meaning infrastructure investments are preserved." -- Mark Hoover, president, Acuitive

"Level 5 Networks is offering low cost, high performance server interconnect solutions for the 1G and higher marketplace. Their innovation succeeds where previous attempts have failed because there's no need to invest in expensive, proprietary systems that require new equipment -- from the server to the wiring. Level 5 Networks eliminates one of the prime pain points for IT management and creates a better user experience. Their clean TCP/IP processing allows their solution to be operating system independent and will scale up as microprocessors obey Moores Law. Look for price/performance leadership from Level 5 Networks." -- Nick Lippis, president, Lippis Enterprises
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 20, 2005
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