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Eric the Intransa Gent: Page 3 of 3

And, of course, no storage startup is complete without a dash of virtualization. Geoff Baehr, general partner at U.S. Venture Partners, says, “Intransa will be the leader in virtualized storage, unifying the complex and fragmented non-SAN storage market."

So why didn’t 3Com go for the idea? A booming new sector to pull in an additional stream of revenue is surely just what the ailing, old firm needs. “We can’t go forward with every great idea we have, and Intransa was one of these,” says Brian Johnson, head of corporate communications at 3Com.

3Com flirted with storage area networking back in late 1998 when it took a 10 percent stake in Gadzoox Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ZOOX). It then changed its mind and pulled out by early 1999, as it would have required “too much investment to become a major player in the Fibre Channel market, which was, by that time, well established,” according to Wang.

However, Benhamou has always had a soft spot for this sector and jumped at the chance to be a part of Intransa. He intends to play an active role in pushing the company forward, says Wang. Benhamou’s also on the board at Legato Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO).It’s clear Intransa’s skills are heavily weighted on the networking side, with most of the engineering team originating from 3Com. In addition, there’s folk from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HWP), Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW),
and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). But for more on this bunch, it’s a case of: Watch this space.

— Jo Maitland, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch