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Z-force Is With Us

Startup begins ramping production of gigabit Ethernet 'file switch' for NAS

Z-force Communications Inc. has won $16 million in second-round funding to fuel the delivery of its gigabit Ethernet storage switch.

Investors in the round were Allegis Capital, Alloy Ventures, Rock Creek Capital Ventures, and Quantum Technology Ventures, the venture capital arm of Quantum Corp. (NYSE: DSS).

We’ve obviously been in a heavy product development, and we’ll be scaling the company in all areas to deliver the product to market,” says Gary Johnson, chairman and co-founder of Z-force. The company, founded in 1999, is based near Los Angeles in Costa Mesa and is adding an office in Santa Clara, Johnson says, because of the location's proximity to potential partners in Silicon Valley.

Johnson would not say how much seed capital Z-force had previously raised, nor would he divulge an employee headcount. “Essentially, this is our first venture round,” he says. The company plans to ramp up operations and launch its switch sometime in 2002.

Z-force is building a Layer 7 gigabit-Ethernet-based switch for network attached storage (NAS) -- in which a server is attached to a network for backup (see Storage Networking Glossary). Z-force has dubbed its new product a “file switch.” Stephen Terlizzi, Z-force’s vice president of marketing, who recently joined the startup after 10 years with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in various sales and marketing roles, says the switch is designed to let NAS installations scale up painlessly.

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