Kazeon Pairs With NetApp

'Official' product launch coincides with strategic partnership with Network Appliance

October 13, 2005

4 Min Read
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Startup Kazeon Inc. has made good on its promise to launch an unstructured data search and management tool this year. And in the process, it's nabbed a plum partner in Network Appliance Inc. (See NetApp, Kazeon Sign OEM.) But a big name may not be enough to make Kazeon a data center favorite.

Kazeon's IS1200 is one of several appliances that are emerging to help IT pros manage unstructured data, including mountains of email, Excel charts, Office documents, and other paper trail markers that must now be ready to hand for many companies.

Kazeon's software, mounted on a single-unit rackmounted Xeon-based box, peers into the contents of Windows or Unix files to create searchable metadata. Once searched out, a file can automatically be assigned to specific locations in a tiered-storage setup.

Though Kazeon's IS1200 is available now starting at $50,000, NetApp won't resell it until November 7, 2005. NetApp's also not giving out a date for the second phase of its agreement, which involves NetApp OEMing and rebranding the Kazeon product.

These details don't bother Michael Dooley, senior director of IT at Zoran Corp. His team was so eager for a solution to the problem of searching legal files that they grabbed at Kazeon when the startup approached them. Big NetApp hardware users, Zoran hadn't found a comparable search tool from its email archiving supplier Veritas (which bought KVS last year). (See No Brainer: Veritas Buys KVS.) Word that Kazeon could help and that the startup had an imminent partnership with NetApp, was enough. No other wares were sampled."Our goal was just to find the files we needed," he says. "We would at least be able to do our own searches without having to get counsel to do it." Previously, the company enlisted highly paid legal staffers to sift files for business searches, or to send ITers the files they thought contained information required. Not getting the lawyers involved means operational cost savings that appear to justify the Kazeon purchase -- though Dooley says he's not at liberty to say how much he paid for the package.

This kind of rush may not become routine for Kazeon, which has named just one other customer, L3 Communications. Buyers like Dooley are glad to get unstructured file searchability now, but they also want more sophisticated tools, ones that can recognize terms used in specific vertical markets, or in certain compliance regulations. When asked if he'd like Kazeon to provide more tailored search tools, Dooley says, "Of course!"

Kazeon faces competition on the boil: Other new companies, including StoredIQ, Njini, and the stealthy Scentric, have their own takes on the problem. StoredIQ has started to offer tailored searching for the healthcare market, and it has a partner, too: Google, which will promote the startup's search software for Google's own appliance.

Meanwhile, established archiving players like Arkivio, KOM Networks, and Seven Ten also claim solutions, and some have longstanding marketing partnerships that could be tapped.

Indeed, it's likely that most big storage players will choose a startup partner for this kind of technology -- which could bode well for both Kazeon and StoredIQ, which both have early mover advantages. "All of the tier one vendors have figured out that classification is very strategic to their ILM initiatives," writes analyst Brad O'Neill of the Taneja Group in an email today. "[W]e'll see a range of cross-platform storage systems vendor partnering. A NetApp classification OEM may still become an EMC, HDS or IBM selling partner."Table 1: Selected Startups in Unstructured Search and Management

Vendor

Announced Customers

Key Partnerships

Differentiators

Funding

Employees

Kazeon

Zoran Semiconductor, L3 Communications

NetApp

Out-of-band appliance; focus on speeding up complex searches

$17M; Clearstone Venture Partners, Goldman Sachs & Co., Redpoint Ventures

65

Njini

N/A

N/A

In-band appliance

$6.4M; Accel Partners, Add Parnters

21

StoredIQ

Atlantic Healthcare, Berkshire Hospitals, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Medline

Google; SAN Holdings Inc.

Out-of-band appliance; focus on healthcare vertical; security emphasized in marketing

$6M; Arch Venture Partners, S3 Ventures, Techxas Ventures

14

Bottom line? Kazeon, like StoredIQ, has gotten to first base, but the inning's only just begun.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

Companies mentioned in this article:

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