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Avamar Appoints New CEO

Avamar Inc. wants a bigger slice of the disk backup pie, and management has hired a new CEO with plenty of sales know-how to help things along.

Ed Walsh, formerly senior VP of worldwide sales, marketing, and alliances at Computer Network Technology Corp. (CNT) (Nasdaq: CMNT), concedes Avamar's been weak getting its message across. "Avamar is in a very good position. Getting the news out is a challenge," Walsh says.

There are whispers that some on the executive team, including former CEO Kevin Daly, weren't getting the news out. Now, Walsh, as well as new VP of sales Scott Bledsoe, aim to change that. Bledsoe, hired in February, is a former VP of sales for gaming technology and systems provider SDG, which merged with a larger company in 2004.

Their task won't be easy. Avamar, some say, suffers a double whammy: First, it's surrounded by a sea of competitors, including ATTO Technology Inc., BlueArc Corp., ExaGrid Systems Inc., Nexsan Technologies Inc., Overland Storage Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL), and Xyratex Ltd. (Nasdaq: XRTX), to name just a few. Second, its message is a hard sell.

"From a product perspective, they have an incredible, unique gem," says Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group consultancy. "But it's not a product that you can smoothly put in. You have to rethink your backup-and-restore from scratch." Since it replaces many replication and backup utilities instead of simply working with them as do VTL products, he says, it's often tough to get companies to take a chance on Avamar. "In terms of marketing and selling, they have a lot of work to do."

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