Acopia Ships Its Switch

It took awhile, but startup says it's got both switches and customers

June 9, 2004

2 Min Read
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We last spoke to Acopia Networks Inc. 13 months ago when it pulled in $30 million in funding and executives said they would ship what they call an Adaptive Resource Switch over the summer (see Acopia Gets $30M Cornucopia).

Well, either theyre way late or they meant this summer. In any case, Lowell, Mass.-based Acopia will formally announce its switches next week.

The extra time to market appears well spent. Acopia says it has done extensive beta testing and will announce two reference customers when it unveils the product.

“We’ve been in beta for nine months,” marketing and business development VP Brandon Howe says in explaining the delay. “There was a high level of testing needed, and we made changes based on feedback.”

Howe says Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. uses Acopia switches to consolidate data from many remote sites into three data centers, and Warner Music Group uses them to manage millions of .WAV and .MP3 files across filers from different vendors.Acopia’s switches come in two configurations: a high-end 13u 24-port Ethernet model that lists for $150,000 and a 2u 6-port Ethernet version that costs $45,000. The switches are usually sold in pairs for redundancy. They connect to NAS gateways and provide a global namespace that allows customers to manage storage from multiple vendors and locations. Howe says switches provide functions such as capacity management, data migration, remote replication, and disaster recovery.

“The idea is to let customers distribute data over a wide geographic area and manage it from a central point,” Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) senior analyst Mike Karp says of Acopia switches.

Acopia provides benefits similar to wide-area file services (WAFS), in which specialized software centralizes files and offers bidirectional access (read/write) to multiple remote sites (see Watch Out for WAFS). Acopia CTO Rick Gillett and VP of software engineering John Ywoskus come from Storigen, one of the startups that failed to make it in the file system space (see Acopia Adds Two Execs, Storigen Ends With a Whimper, Zambeelians Reemerge at StorAD, and Acirro Hits Zero).

The key for Acopia is to establish itself as more than just a WAFS play, Karp says: “Its value will be to be perceived as more than a disaster recovery alternative. They can manage unstructured data over widely distributed networks, and that is not something many people can do.”

Howe says that, unlike Fibre Channel SAN switch vendors, Acopia doesn’t plan to sell through OEMs. It will concentrate initially on selling directly into enterprises in the United States and through partners in Europe and Japan. He says Acopia also plans lower-end offerings eventually.— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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