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Shai Scharf, CEO & Co-Founder, Onaro

Dedicated to the proposition that change is the root of all evil in a SAN, startup Onaro Inc. created a well-paying niche for itself last year.

We realized the biggest pain point had to do with change,” Onaro CEO Shai Scharf says of the impetus for Onaro's initial product. “Every time somebody changes something, there are problems. Storage area networks are so complex, they can’t deal with somebody changing what they have on them.”

So Scharf and three other Onaro founders – Roy Alon, Assaf Levy, and Raphael Yahalom, all like Scharf veterans of Israeli military intelligence who migrated to Boston (see Onaro Lifts Its Cover) – came up with SANscreen. The software is based on what they call predictive change management. SANscreen discovers devices on Fibre Channel and iSCSI networks, determines their relationships to other devices, and predicts the effect of changes on a SAN.

Onaro’s focus on change helped distinguish it from other storage resource management software vendors after SANscreen rolled out last June (see Onaro Ships Change Manager). Since then, things have moved right along. The startup lined up development partnerships with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Computer Network Technology Corp. (CNT) (Nasdaq: CMNT), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA), and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC). (See Onaro Names Development Partners.) Customers have also signed on, paying $100 or more per port for SANscreen.

In 2005, Scharf says Onaro will widen its product line – and competition – by offering similar software for the entire data center (see Onaro Eyes Data Centers). He also expects to add storage management features to SANscreen.

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