Virtual Storage Startup Eyes SMBs

Startup creates block-based iSCSI storage pools from regular i86 machines

May 3, 2008

3 Min Read
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A self-funded startup based in Sudbury, Mass., is reaching out to VARs and OEMs with iSCSI software that creates virtual storage pools from x86 computers for quick-and-easy SANs.

Kapsean Inc., founded in 2003, says a CD loaded with its ISCUBE Storage Server OS can make a storage array or brick out of any standard PC, notebook, or laptop computer, including OEM or "whitebox" versions. The vendor says resellers can bundle its software with PCs for SAN-seeking SMBs. The product will also work with virtualized networks.

Kapsean sells its ISCUBE software in four versions: The most basic program, MyiDisk, goes out into the network, locating whitebox storage that is running an ISCUBE agent and making that storage appear as a virtual drive in the user's own PC. MyiStorage does the same thing, but creates multiple virtual drives for use by servers. MyiVault acts as a disk repository for backing up or archiving data from Windows clients; and MyiGrid creates a multi-node pool of storage that can handle RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6 and provide dynamic volume management from LAN-based PCs.

Kapsean isn't actually shipping any products, though its CDs are in a series of beta tests, and execs say pricing for the basic MyiDisk software is about $50 per seat. The company plans to offer its software in downloadable public beta form later this month, execs say.

Kapsean spent the week showcasing its ISCUBE software at the Interop tradeshow in Las Vegas, hoping to attract OEMs, VARs, and storage vendors into partnerships aimed at the consumer, SMB, and virtualization segments.The startup already has a few key relationships. It is a member of the Intel Enabled Server Accleration Alliance (ESAA), which Intel bills as a "collaboration between Intel and ISV members that enables reseller members to deliver pre-tested, high-quality Intel-based server solutions."

Kapsean also says a range of other vendors, including storage manufacturers, are eyeing its software as a value-add to their existing systems and arrays.

Key to Kapsean's value proposition is its low price and business model. While it competes in theory against offerings from LeftHand Networks, Datacore Software, and others, the startup has no wish to do so blatantly.

"Our business model is to work with suppliers like Linksys, Netgear, DLink, and Buffalo to supply unified storage to SMBs," says Leonardo Salazar, Kapsean's VP of business development.

Indeed, the vendor debuted itself at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January precisely to attract the likes of PC resellers interested in white-box solutions based on Intel's "Helena Island" whitebox servers, which debuted late in 2007. One of Intel's servers, the SS4200-E storage server, includes Retrospect backup software for Windows and Apple Macs. The Intel servers can be used with storage software from FalconStor Software, Open-e, and Wasabi Systems -- and now from Kapsean, too.Kapsean's founder, Shawn Nagar, is a former DEC developer who sold his startup Shawn Systems to EMC several years ago. He funded Kapsean with his own money.

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  • Buffalo Technology (USA) Inc.

  • DataCore Software Corp.

  • D-Link Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)

  • LeftHand Networks Inc.

  • Linksys

  • Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR)

  • Wasabi Systems Inc.

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