SAN Snacks From SNW

Random notes from the show, including talk of IPOs, SAN switch developments, and Sun's future

April 9, 2004

4 Min Read
Network Computing logo

PHOENIX -- The Storage Networking World tradeshow is wrapping up, but that doesn't mean news is a wrap. If anything, the show highlighted a slew of things to keep an eye on in the market. Here are a few snippets that surfaced this week:

Public Ponderings

At least three private storage companies are talking IPO for 2005.

  • Softek is a logical candidate because the storage management software company was already profitable as a division before spinning off from Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702) this week (see Softek Taken in Management Buyout). Softek's VP for open systems, Karen Dutch, says the new company is about 12 to 18 months away from going public. It was like we hit college age, and now it's time to leave home,” Dutch says of the management-led buyout, terms still undisclosed. Fujitsu will continue to OEM Softek but has no management stake in the new company.

  • NAS startup BlueArc Corp. might go public within the year, according to CTO Geoff Barrall. “We’re very much on track for an IPO in Q1 [2005],” Barrall says. “We had a huge jump in revenues in the March quarter, and we went past our Q2 revenue target one week into the quarter.” Barrall says sales of BlueArc’s new modular-drive Titan system are strong, and its average sales price of more than $400,000 is more than double the cost of BlueArc’s original SiliconServer product (see BlueArc Titan to Battle Giants).

  • Arsenal Digital Solutions Worldwide Inc. CEO Frank Brick says the storage management service provider is considering an IPO late next year or early 2006, after reaching positive EBITDA last year (see Arsenal Reloads With $11M). “We’re a $50 million company, and we believe we will easily achieve 75 percent to 100 percent growth next year,” says Brick, whose company recently added Con Edison Communications Inc. (NYSE: ED) to a list of clients that includes AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T), NTT/Verio Inc., AboveNet Inc., Terremark Worldwide Inc., Redundant Networks, and Redundant Networks (see Arsenal Partners With Con Edison).

  • Insiders still expect software vendor CommVault Systems Inc. to become the next storage company to file for an IPO, but CommVault's VP of marketing, Larry Cormier, isn’t biting. “I believe we’re the fastest growing storage software company,” Cormier says, “so I can see why people are talking.”

    Switch Bites

    Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has joined Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) in including Brocade Communications Systems Inc.’s (Nasdaq: BRCD) new low- and high-end switches in its SAN systems. Hitachi will sell the entry-level Silkworm switches (formerly known as Dazzler) in its Thunder 9500 V Series modular systems targeted at SMBs and departments. It will include the 128-port Silkworm 2400 director switch (code-named Meteor) in its Hitachi Lightning 9900 V enterprise SANs.

    HP became the first to OEM Brocade’s switches on the high and low ends. The Meteor switches are enhancements to the HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) SAN HP announced Monday. That follows HP’s inclusion of the Dazzler switches in its entry-level SANs announced March 22 (see HP Aims to Dazzle SMBs).

    As expected, McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) lowered the price of its Sphereon switch in response to Brocade’s Dazzler (see Brocade Dazzler Starts Low). McData spun it as a new switch-on-a-chip (SOC), which is basically a die shrink that reduces cost. Pricing of the Sphereon 4000 family will drop 20 percent, putting it in line with Brocade’s entry-level switch. HP will sell the eight-port Brocade switch for around $5,000. McData’s new switches should be qualified by OEMs in May.On the Horizon

    Storage will play a big role in Sun Microsystems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SUNW) June product rollout. Sun will officially announce its SATA drive deal with Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: HILL), and will launch its first product with embedded technology acquired from Pirus Networks for $160 million in 2002 (see Sun Beams on Pirus and Sun Completes Pirus Acquisition). A Sun executive described the Pirus product as “a switch-based head” that sits closer to storage devices than traditional SAN switches.

    You won’t see any NAS products from Sun’s alliance with Procom Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: PRCME)this June (see Sun, Procom Form Alliance), but the Sun executive did confirm NAS is in the company’s long-term plans (see Sun, Procom Form Alliance). There is also talk that Sun will OEM its midrange SAN systems from LSI Logic Storage Systems Inc., which also OEMs SAN systems to IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) (NYSE: SGI), Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) (NYSE: STK), and the Teradata division of NCR Corp.. Sun currently gets its low-end SANs from Dot Hill and its high-end systems from Hitachi while manufacturing its own midrange SANs.

    — Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights