Cirtas, the cloud storage controller company, today announced that it has closed a Series B funding round totaling $22.5 million. This round has been led by newcomers Shasta Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, as well as returning investors Amazon, NEA and Lightspeed.

As is also often the case in these funding announcements, Cirtas is appointing a new CEO, in this case Gary Messiana. Messiana has led two startups into high growth markets and successful exits, most recently Netli (acquired by Akamai for $165M in 2008). In an interesting twist, considering their leading of this round, Bessemer also have a hand in the CEO role – prior to taking the helm at Cirtas, Messiana was an entrepreneur in residence at Bessemer. The previous CEO and company cofounder Dan Decasper will now be focusing on “product innovation” in his new role of CTO.

I contacted Messiana to discuss the funding in particular – and hybrid cloud developments in general. I started by asking how Cirtas is seeing adoption growth. They’re seeing an increase of adoption and more importantly, a broadening beyond just the early adopters. I also asked them how they see 2011 shaping up for the cloud, I’ve long said it was the year the cloud tipped so I was interested to get their perspective;

We’ve been saying for some time that 2011 will be the tipping point for the cloud.  It hopefully will also be the year where the overhyped “cloud washing” of every vendor’s marketing literature finally stops and only the solutions that add real value to customers prevail.  We still see a lot of misunderstanding about “the cloud”.  For us, the only valid definition of “cloud” is as a public utility service – open to anyone.  But marketers have slapped the cloud label on everything from private infrastructure to hosted/managed services that have been around for years.  The worst is when anything where information is out on the Internet, what used to be called software-as-a-service, is labeled “cloud”.  It confuses the market.  I think we’ll see clarity on much of this throughout 2011 as it becomes evident which solutions are real and which are just marketing hype.

That’s a vision that I’ll agree with wholeheartedly.

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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