StorageQuest On a Rocky Road

Drops old strategy to jump on virtualization bandwagon

November 3, 2001

2 Min Read
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As its name implies, StorageQuest Inc. can aptly be summed up as a storage voyage-into-the-unknown.

Based in Ottawa, StorageQuest was officially founded in 1998 to develop storage virtualization appliances and software, but discovered it was several years too early with this idea.

The company did an about-face and began reselling almost everyone elses tapes and disk drives, including those of Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT; Paris: PHA), Pioneer, Pegasus, Sony Corp., Tricord Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: TRCD), and others.

With only 12 employees onboard, StorageQuest was able to sustain its business selling other companies' products long enough for the rest of the world to catch on to virtualization -- so company spokespeople say.

Now, as the virtualization market hits the spotlight, StorageQuest is jumping on the bandwagon with other established companies and startups seeking a stake. The list is getting longer every day, but key ones include Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ), DataCore Software Corp., EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), FalconStor Software Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), KOM Networks Inc., Lefthand Networks, Panasas Inc.,StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd., and Zambeel Inc., among many others.And StorageQuest's shifted its tack once again. “We are shaving off our reseller agreements now to concentrate on bringing our MSM (Multi-services Storage Manager) virtualization appliance and software to market,” said Mike Hornby, VP of marketing at StorageQuest.

But the company has issues to deal with. The current generation of its MSM product only supports direct-attached legacy storage. That appears to defeat the object of a virtualization appliance, which is supposed to support multiple storage devices and host operating systems across a network, instead of deploying a direct-attached model.

Hornby says the box will support iSCSI (SCSI over IP) once the standard is ratified and it has received code from Cisco to work on this. Until then, StorageQuest says the MSM can be used to extend the life of legacy storage that won't be upgraded.

StorageQuest also has its eye on the future. It's in talks with five VCs for a round of funding between $4 and $6 million, which it hopes to close before the end of the year.

All said, StorageQuest’s prospects are a little murky. It is jumping on a bandwagon already well overloaded with passengers, with a product that supports legacy systems. On top of that, it is trying to raise funding at the same time that it's shedding its only source of revenue -- its reseller agreements. Time will tell.— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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