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Utility storage startup 3PARdata Inc. has signed IBM Global Services as the support partner for its product and has unveiled a bunch of early adopters that seem to like its technology.

Cutting 3PAR some slack, for a moment, the company has actually sold five of its S800 systems -- and at a hundred grand a pop, that's not bad going in this market. The two customers it can name are Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) and RagingWire Telecommunications Inc., a service provider in Sacramento, Calif.

There are 10 more beta sites that have completed testing of the system, 3PAR says. These include Prudential Financial Inc., Net One Systems Co. Ltd., Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., AIG, Wells Fargo, an unnamed Fortune 500 credit card issuer, and a large Oracle data warehouse shop. [Ed. note: This last one is a little wishy-washy, as just about every startup professes to have an Oracle data warehouse user as a customer. Perhaps there's one out there for rent?]

Let's give credit where credit's due. 3PAR has stuck to its roadmap, where others in this new sector have fallen by the wayside. Cereva Networks limped on and on for months until it was eventually acquired by EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) for a piffling $10 million, in August 2002. And YottaYotta Inc. remains a science project, from what we can tell (see 3PAR Tees Off, Cereva Sells Out to EMC, and YottaYotta Still in the Game?).

3PAR likes to think of EMC's acquisition of Cereva as an endorsement of its technology, and it claims Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has "reacted" to its system as well. [Ed. note: Did it really? A slight rash? A tingling sensation?] But whatever the big boys are doing, 3PAR is diligently carving out a niche for itself, despite the seemingly long odds.

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