Industry Leaders from IBM, Hitachi Data Systems, and REPLICUS Join Promising Newcomers From LeftHand, Topspin, TrueSAN, and Z-force

PALO ALTO, CA–December 6, 2002–Industry leaders, representing both established players and newcomers, gathered here yesterday to discuss what the future holds in data storage technology and prospects for taking care of the critical “ilities”–scalability, reliability, availability, usability, and manageability–during Garage Technology Ventures’ State of the Art: Intelligent Storage conference.

“Industry discussion is centered on simplifying data storage, but the reality is just the opposite. With the proliferation of multiple standards, protocols, industry alliances, and the ever-popular NAS vs. SAN debate, the customer is more confused than ever,” noted Mohanjit Jolly, Vice President of Network Infrastructure at Garage Technology Ventures, in his opening remarks. “The real question is will competing approaches work together in the future to solve customers’ problems?”

A range of opinions was forthcoming from Garage’s panel of experts, representing the views of customers, vendors, and independent analysts. The panelists included:

  • Paul Borrill – President/CEO, REPLICUS Software
  • Mark Egan – CIO, Symantec
  • Claus Mikkelsen – Senior Director, Storage Applications, Hitachi Data Systems
  • Claudia Fan Munce – Director, Emerging Markets and Technology, Venture Capital Group, IBM Corporate Strategy
  • Michael Peterson – CEO, Strategic Research

Panelists agreed that complexity of solutions and the current lack of standards in areas such as virtualization–one of the new approaches to reducing complexity–are central issues that must be addressed in the industry.

“We’re running into a complexity wall. This is a crisis for the industry,” said Paul Borrill of REPLICUS.

“The IT community is overwhelmed by the complexity,” agreed Michael Peterson of Strategic Research, who noted that most of the solutions discussed during the conference were aimed at solving this problem.

“Standards are key,” observed Claus Mikkelsen of Hitachi Data Systems, as the absence of standards was highlighted in a discussion on virtualization. “If you don’t have standards, it will impede technology advancement.”

In the lengthy debate about storage intelligence and where it should reside (in the host, network, subsystem, or software), IBM’s Claudia Fan Munce stressed, “There is a lot of intelligence in storage solutions today. What we’re really aiming to do is to reduce its complexity, and reduce its total cost of ownership.”

Hitachi’s Mikkelsen agreed, “Intelligence is all over the place, and that’s good. We just need to aggregate it and reduce it down to a single dash board.”

During State of the Art: Intelligent Storage, Garage also spotlighted the technology and approaches of several rising private companies in the sector. Presenters included:

  • LeftHand Networks, a network storage company that allows customers to build affordable, intelligent, and highly manageable storage area networks that use their existing IP infrastructure;
  • Topspin Communications, which builds solutions to virtualize the enterprise data center. Its virtualization fabric allows CPU, I/O, and storage resources to be matched dynamically to changing business needs;
  • TrueSAN Networks, Inc., a developer of intelligent storage software that enables organizations to exploit fully the financial and operational benefits of storage area networks; and
  • Z-force, Inc., the inventor of a new product category called the “file switch”–a new network node that will bring unparalleled performance, scalability, and manageability to network-attached storage (NAS) environments.

State of the Art is an ongoing series of invitation-only industry-specific events, hosted by venture capital investment bank Garage Technology Ventures. Garage’s objective is to bring together private equity investors, industry thought leaders, and spotlight emerging technology companies in discussions about future technology trends, business models, and investment opportunities in the selected sectors.

About Garage Technology Ventures
Garage Technology Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm located in Silicon Valley focusing on emerging technology companies on the West Coast. The firm is currently investing in its third fund, a seed-stage and early-stage fund anchored with an investment from CalPERS. Unlike some venture funds, Garage is happy to support first-time entrepreneurs who are building the next great technology company.

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