Startup Speedata Debuts New Processor Targeting Accelerated Data Analytics, Database Tasks

Israeli startup Speedata exited stealth Thursday, debuting its Analytics Processing Unit (APU) chip technology for accelerating database and data analytics workloads and announcing $70 million in venture funding.

The company is promising a 2X magnitude or more performance boost over mainstream processors for database and business analytics processes, CEO and co-founder Jonathan Friedmann said in an interview with CRN.

“General purpose processors are not progressing at the rate they used to,” Friedmann said, referring to CPU performance. “Current processing units aren’t designed to manage today’s workloads. If you look at what’s happening in the data center world, there’s a huge shift from general purpose processors to dedicated accelerators. And we are leading that change in the analytics and database world.”

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Speedata, founded in 2019 and based in Netanya, Israel, is developing what it describes as the first dedicated processor for optimizing data center and cloud-based database and analytics workloads.

The amount of digital data created over the next five years will be greater than twice the amount of data created since the advent of digital data storage, market researcher IDC predicted in March.

Businesses today are trying to capture, manage and analyze all that data to gain insights that can provide competitive advantages and support digital transformation initiatives. But exploding volumes of “big data” are proving to be a challenge for today’s database, data ETL (extract, transform and load) processing, and business intelligence systems.

Cloud platform companies have traditionally used CPU technology for analytical processing, although some have recently begun developing big data accelerators utilizing FPGA (field-programmable gate array) processors with what Speedata, in a statement, called “very limited capabilities.” High-speed GPU processors are also being used to accelerate computing tasks while processors for compute-intensive tasks such as AI are being developed.

The Speedata APU, currently in the prototype stage, will “disrupt the way analytics and databases are processed in datacenters” with a single server incorporating the APU able to replace multiple racks of CPUs, dramatically reducing costs, saving space and reducing energy consumption, the company said.

The scalable architecture of the APU addresses the main bottlenecks of data analytics including I/O, compute and memory, “effectively accelerating all three,” the company statement said. The APU will be compatible with legacy software, allowing for “seamless migration of workloads” without the need to change code or software frameworks.

Friedman said the APU product is expected to be released for general availability within the next several quarters with customers expected to include cloud platform hyperscalers, computer hardware OEMs and large corporations and organizations that assemble custom IT systems.

Friedman said several Fortune 500 companies have provided Speedata with their analytical workloads and sample data to test out the APU prototype. Speedata is targeting its processors for use in finance, healthcare, telecommunications and other vertical industries where business analytics tasks can involve huge volumes of data.

Speedata on Thursday also said it had raised $55 million in a Series A funding round led by Walden Catalyst Ventures, 83North and Koch Disruptive Technologies, with participation from existing investors Pitango First, Viola Ventures and several individual investors including Mellanox Technologies co-founder and CEO Eyal Waldman.

That comes on top of an earlier, previously undisclosed $15 million seed funding round led by Viola and Pitango, bringing the startup’s total financing to $70 million.

Speedata’s employee roster today is largely its 40-plus engineering staff and much of the venture funding will go to expanding that team. In addition to continued development of the APU’s core capabilities, Friedman said the company is adding engineers with expertise in compute and network software that the APU will work with.

“We are looking for engineers in all disciplines,” the CEO said. “We want to seamlessly integrate into existing software ecosystems.”

The company is also hiring sales professionals and staff in product management and customer support. And some of the funding will go to the contract chip manufacturer that will produce the APU, Friedman said.

“Datacenter analytics are being completely transformed, and accelerated processors are set to play a substantial role in this revolution,” said investor and board member Waldman in the Speedata statement. “Much like NVIDIA’s GPU revolutionized the AI space, Speedata’s unique APU will transform database computing. Data processing is a swiftly growing, multi-billion-dollar market in which acceleration will unleash the use of data in the applications of tomorrow and help countless entities reliant on big data innovate and compete.”