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BlueArc Reveals Customers

BlueArc Corp. announced today that Altera Corp., Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) each purchased the startup's Si7500 Storage System last quarter. The Si7500 links Fibre Channel storage arrays to servers over gig Ethernet networks (see BlueArc Shipping Storage Systems and Top Ten Private Storage Networking Companies, page 3).

BlueArc says the three newly announced customers aren't the only takers for its box, which it claims performs two to 10 times better than existing products, such as servers from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and

Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP). But in making the announcement, BlueArc clearly hoped to make a statement.

"I'm sure it's no accident that the first three customers BlueArc has named are organizations with cachet, performance-oriented firms," says Robert Gray, research director of storage systems at IDC.

Gray says that, while having customers doesn't prove BlueArc's products work, "The raw speed has been proven." The announcement does address the challenge to BlueArc of marketing its wares effectively in a tight market. "It's a cool marketing move," Gray says.

So far, however, the three customers announced today aren't willing to go so far as to say they've replaced any gear with BlueArc's equipment. Instead, they insist they're complementing what's already there -- in the case of Juniper and Extreme, that means NAS gear from Network Appliance. Altera has been using direct-attached RAID arrays from unspecified suppliers.

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