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Silverback Signs CEO

Silverback Systems Inc. has a new CEO as it tries to stay afloat amid a sea of sunken TCP/IP offload engine (TOE) startups.

Ahmet Houssein will officially take over as Silverback CEO Tuesday after spending three years as general manager of the Storage Solutions Group at Adaptec Inc. (Nasdaq: ADPT) and six years with Intel Corp.s (Nasdaq: INTC) enterprise server and home server groups.

That background shows Houssein knows the TOE market. He's also aparently into risk-taking. In 2004, TOE startups iReady and Xiran went under, and Trebia took the 10-count the previous year (see Xiran Gets Crossed Out, iReady to Go, Nvidia Buys iReady, and Trebia Croaks).

Houssein points to two reasons why he agreed to run the Campbell, Calif.-based startup. First, he relishes the chance to be a CEO. “These guys came after me and were very persuasive, and it’s a career path I wanted to take,” he says. He also thinks Silverback’s iSNAP processors, which provide TCP/IP offload and iSCSI acceleration, can bring in significant revenues soon (see Silverback iSNAPs Into Dual-Port Mode and Silverback Ships iSCSI Processor). "Traction will come over the next couple of months to a year. People want to see performance from iSCSI to match Fibre Channel.”

Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group, says Houssein needs to be as impressive as his resumé to turn Silverback around.

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