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Top Ten Private Companies: Summer 2003

It's hazy, hot, and humid stickier than a jam jar full of angry bees. Yes, we're talking about the Byte and Switch Top Ten Private Companies list, making a summer appearance and wooshing up a gentle breeze over the sweat-stained storage networking industry.

To recap: The Top Ten list is based exclusively on our evaluation of the market and the prospects for each company's long-term success. To be considered, companies must be privately held, have shipping products, and demonstrate the existence of revenue-producing customers. Bonus points are given to startups that do not have foosball or ping-pong tables on the premises; points are deducted from those with humorless, pinch-faced executives (see our previous list, Top Ten Private Companies: Spring 2003).

Here are the highlights of the summer's reloaded Top Ten list – iced down, oiled up, and sun-kissed for your beach-reading pleasure:

  • Returning to the No. 1 spot, with arms raised Rocky-style high above its head, is BlueArc Corp. The company is flush with a boatload of shekels and off to the high-end NAS races with renewed vigor.
  • There are two newbies, although neither one of them is exactly a flashy tyro: NSI Software, a Windows replication software firm founded in 1991; and SAN storage vendor XIOtech Corp., founded in 1995 and now free from its ham-fisted parent company, Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX). Welcome, you unsexy thangs!
  • Slipping off the list into the Bit Bucket are Nishan Systems Inc., which is facing a number of X factors; and AppIQ Corp., which remains well positioned but has been moved aside for our new entrants. Splooooooosh!

Before we proceed, we should remind readers that, unfortunately, there is room for only ten companies here. This isn't a Top 5,000 list, amigos. Keep in mind that just because your company missed the cut doesn't mean we don't like its chances. And by all means, throw your own picks and pans onto our message boards (but please clean up after yourself).

For a writeup on each company, click on its name below:

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