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ONStor, 3PAR Double-Team

When the director of infrastructure services at Shopzilla was ready to buy new storage gear, two startups answered his call -- one with SAN, the other with NAS equipment. Today, he has both products, but just one throat to choke.

"I have NAS and SAN under the same umbrella," says Burzin Engineer of the online shopping site, which needs a lot of storage to accommodate numerous daily updates. He's one of nine pilot customers who helped spur ONStor Inc. and 3PAR Inc. to develop a joint product offering called UtiliCat, which will be announced tomorrow.

UtiliCat combines the hardware of both 3PAR and ONStor in one rack with single-point support from either vendor or any of their resellers. It's the closest the two could come to integrating their wares without actually developing something new -- though that may eventually transpire. The two companies have a common board member in Kevin Fong, managing partner at Mayfield, and they share common investors in Mayfield and WorldView Technology Partners. Spokespeople say the two startups address different markets, but they're eager to take advantage of whatever joint opportunities turn up.

It's been helpful, for instance, to join forces against Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), whose FAS980/980c also combines SAN and NAS. 3PAR and ONStor's pitch against NetApp is improved performance and scaleability.

For Engineer, NetApp wasn't a contender in his latest storage choice. But he does have gear from BlueArc Corp. and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in his shop. He says he's more impressed with the UtiliCat, thanks to the ability of both ONStor and 3PAR to dynamically toggle between RAID 1 and RAID 5 modes.

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