Troika Turns a Corner

Alliances with Agere and StoreAge could help startup find its niche at last

October 28, 2004

3 Min Read
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Troika Networks Inc. may be close to finding its niche in the storage market, judging by two announcements at the Storage Networking World tradeshow here this week. With the right timing, at least one of these could help launch the startup to a new level.

The startup's most impressive news concerns its partnership with StoreAge Networking Technologies Ltd., wherein Troika has adapted its product, a multiport appliance built to speed up the performance of storage applications, with StoreAge's software on virtual servers from VMware Inc.

Specifically, Troika worked with StoreAge to port that vendor's applications on Troika's box, the Accelera Network Storage Services Platform (NSS), and then, with StoreAge's partnership, integrated that setup with to work with VMware's ESX server. In effect, Troika created an agent that allows StoreAge's software to interact with VMware on the NSS platform, according to Steve O'Brian, Troika's VP of marketing.

The resulting package is among the first-ever products to combine server virtualization with storage applications.

"They're first. Some others say they're going to combine storage and server virtualization, but nothing's firm yet," says one industry analyst, who asked not to be named.Troika says the product is running in about eight customer sites, allowing data center managers to allocate networked storage (and backup applications) to the virtual servers they configure with VMware's product.

"We've seen immense interest in this," says Troika's O'Brian. "These VMware customers are early adopters of virtualization, and they're happy with what we're doing."

Troika announced its alliance with StoreAge back in March and joined VMware's partner program earlier this month (see Troika Joins VMware Alliance). But the new package is among the first-ever products to combine VMware server virtualization with storage applications.

VMware and parent EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) are reportedly demonstrating storage and VMware's virtual servers working together, but have nothing officially for sale. VMware could not be reached for further information at press time.

Troika also reiterated this week its plan to partner with Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A), an announcement originally made last spring (see Agere, Trokia Develop SAN Products). Troika says Agere will ship chips containing ReadyPath, the hardware-acclerating software used in its NSS, in the first half of next year.The Agere deal is significant because it could help Troika gain more footholds in Agere OEMs. But time is tight: Other startups are working in the area of storage processing, and some are enroaching on the same places Troika's marked out.

Aarohi Inc., for instance, has its own deal with StoreAge and demo'd wares "by appointment only" at SNW this week (see StoreAge, Aarohi Demo SAN DR).

Meanwhile, Troika's looking to expand. Rumors are that its alleged funding this year was more like a bridge loan (see Troika Takes Aim). O'Brian acknowledges an "internal round" of funding took place in April 2004, but says no amount was disclosed. He says there will be no additional funding this year, but he can't speak to next year.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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