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5:35 PM -- Ever since poor market conditions scared off Engenio from going though with its IPO last year, the storage industry has been waiting for another group of brave souls to give it a try. (See Engenio Gets Cold Feet.)

Most expected CommVault would do it before the end of 2005. Well, it's finally happened. CommVault filed the paperwork for its IPO Friday, and the rest of the industry will closely watch to see what kind of reception it gets from the market when it sells shares -- probably sometime in June. (See CommVault's Taking the Plunge.)

Yet even if CommVault gets its target IPO share price, don't expect it to open the floodgates of storage startups going public. There may be one or two more this year, but even most of the successful startups are still at least a year away.

Who might go this year? Mellanox and Riverbed are the leading candidates. Industry sources say Mellanox has put together a few profitable quarters and has a lock on the InfiniBand silicon market, at least until QLogic can make a run with the InfiniBand platform it acquired by buying PathScale. (See QLogic Bets on InfiniBand and Mellanox Doubles InfiniBand.) As Riverbed zooms toward profitability, its OEM deals with Hewlett-Packard and McData can only help accelerate its growth in the hot WAFS market.

Early 2007 candidates include a bunch of system vendors: EqualLogic, 3PAR, and perhaps everybody's favorite, well funded startups, BlueArc and Pillar Data. But as Engenio already proved, there's a lot of room between the cup and the lip when it comes to drinking from the public fountain.

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