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IP SANs Struggle for Respect

IP SANs have been talked about for more than five years, and iSCSI systems have been widely available for more than two. So why is the technology still treated as a second-class citizen by the storage establishment?

A group of startups have demonstrated this kind of storage is cheaper and easier to manage than Fibre Channel. And yet, these small vendors struggle with profitability and aren't considered hot acquisition prospects. (See Panel Prompts iSCSI Love-In.)

LeftHand, EqualLogic, and Intransa are the main IP SAN system startups left standing now that StoneFly Networks is out of the game. (See StoneFly Fights for Survival.) Others such as Sanrad, which sells switches that connect to arrays by iSCSI, and smaller iSCSI software startups are also trying to carve out their place in the SAN.

The survivors face the usual challenges for startups, which include executive transition. Intransa and EqualLogic both changed CEOs last year, and Intransa also went through a series of other management changes. (See Don Bulens, President & CEO, EqualLogic and Intransa Trades In CEO.)

LeftHand is also going through a transition of its own. Byte and Switch has learned chief strategy officer Tom Major left the startup this week after spending nearly three years as its primary public spokesman. Major says he was lured away by a Fortune 500 company he wont name -- a couple industry sources say it's Seagate -- and he hopes to continuing working with LeftHand as a consultant.

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