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Phil Soran, CEO, Compellent

In startup-years, Compellent Technologies Inc. is approaching a mid-life crisis. Founded in 2002 by a trio of able entrepreneurs, it quickly gained ground, thanks to its value proposition: an open storage platform comprising mix-and-match hardware supporting both Fibre Channel and iSCSI, along with thin provisioning and a range of utilities, including replication.

The company has 80 employees and over 200 customers, along with a sizeable network of distribution partners in the U.S. and Canada. It just scored a $15 million round of funding in May, bringing its total to $38 million. (See Compellent Corrals $15M.)

But the modular SAN vendor has reached a crucial juncture. It's time to move to the next level, even as the market for SMB and midrange storage swarms with competitors large, small, and very comparable. There's Dell, EMC, 3PAR, Engenio, LeftHand, and QLogic, to name just a few.

If CEO Phil Soran feels the pressure, he's not letting on. His happy-go-lucky persona embodies what his corporate bio calls "a positive-aggressive culture."

"We're right on path to take the world by storm!" he chirps.

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