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Gustafson Leads Exec Carousel

Now we know the better opportunity that tempted away McData Corp.s (Nasdaq: MCDTA)
former marketing boss Mike Gustafson. He’ll be named president of BlueArc Corp.
next week.

Although BlueArc won’t say much about the announcement, a company source did confirm what others told Byte and Switch -- Gustafson will join the NAS startup that has designs on going public next year. BlueArc’s president position was vacant, and the move does not include any other management changes at the company.

Maybe it's a sign of renewed momentum in storage networking, but other veterans of established storage companies seem to be finding startup jobs too tempting to pass up these days. In moves announced today, former Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) executive Karl Schubert took over as CTO of SAN vendor Xiotech Corp.;
and Nexsan Technologies Inc.

named Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)
veteran Frank Patterson its global supply chain VP.

Gustafson is the second high-ranking executive to leave McData in the last six months. Alain Andreoli resigned as executive VP of worldwide sales and service last November to take over as CEO at Xiotech (see McData Sales Boss McExits and Ex-McData EVP to Head XIOtech). McData CEO John Kelley says the two had personal aspirations that carried them off (see McData Sees Another Quarter Pounding).

While McData struggles to keep pace against Fibre Channel switch competitors Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)
and Cisco, BlueArc is considering going public within a year. CTO Geoff Barrall said in April that sales of BlueArc’s new Titan system have the San Jose, Calif.- based startup on track for an IPO in the first quarter of 2005 (see SAN Snacks From SNW). Others in the industry aren’t so optimistic, pointing out that BlueArc competes in a market dominated by giants EMC and NetApp.

At Xiotech, Schubert joins the midrange SAN vendor after helping Dell get started in storage as its storage EVP before leaving in 2001. He spent 14 years at IBM in several capacities, including program director responsible for creating an OEM storage subsystems unit. After leaving Dell, he became COO of NAS startup Zambeel in September 2001, then left in January 2003 with the company on the verge of folding (see Zambeel COO Skedaddles