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ATA Is Where It's AT

'Tis the season for startups to wrap up funding rounds before the close of the year, and ATA (advanced technology attachment) vendors are finding investors in a giving mood.

Nexsan Technologies, which sells a series of RAID arrays, and ATA-based backup and recovery appliance startup Data Domain
each unwrapped $17 million in funding this week. Both have significant expansion plans in 2004 in the expectation that more backups will be done on disk and fewer on tape.

Disk backup and fast restore is where everybody’s going now,” Data Domain CEO Frank Slootman says. “The trend is to ATA storage, and we’re right in the middle of that.”

Diamond Luaffin, Nexsan’s senior executive VP, has been pushing disk-to-disk backup at the expense of tape since 2001. The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based company began shipping ATA backup products in 2001 along with Fibre Channel and SCSI product. By mid-2002, it dropped Fibre Channel and SCSI and turned full-time to ATA. Its RAID arrays are aptly named ATABeast, ATABaby, and ATATwins.

“We came from the world of tape,” says Luaffin, who previously worked at Qualstar Corp. (Nasdaq: QBAK). “We saw a desire from our customers to go to disk-based backup. ATA made that affordable and practical.”

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