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Overland Data

Overland is aiming to add software to smarten up tape libraries

Like other companies in its market space, Overland Data Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL) is only too happy to sell you an automated tape library today. But what really concerns Overland is what you'll want tomorrow.

Though it hasn't announced specific plans on how it will attain its goal, the San Diego-based Overland says that making its devices more network-friendly is one of its primary tasks, going forward. Delivering on that idea might help the company justify Wall Street's optimism in Overland stock, which is rated a "Buy" by the several analysts covering the company.

The future of tape devices, as Overland sees it, has a lot in common with the current architecture of network-attached storage (NAS) devices. "We understand that [tape drives] have to become more intelligent," says Overland president and CEO Christopher Calisi. "The devices we deliver have to look more like appliances, which are a better part of a network infrastructure."

Calisi, who signed on as CEO in March, has made some aggressive moves to focus the company's business on delivering tape automation products for the mid-range market -- customers seeking gear in the 40-cartridge range. Calisi dumped a low-end product line and cut staff, actions that cost Overland a couple million dollars in expenses.

Evidence that the move to the mid-range was solid business showed up in Overland's report for its recently concluded fourth fiscal quarter of 2001 (ending June 30), when the company earned six cents per share on just more than $37 million in revenue.

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