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Start-Up’s Profile: Coraid

Just getting $10 million in funding
By Jean-Jacques Maleval on 2010.01.26

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Company:
Coraid, Inc.

Location:
Headquartered in Redwood City, CA with production and development in Athens, GA

Born in:
2000

Financial Funding:
The company just announced  its first-ever round of $10 million funding from VC firms Allegis Capital and Azure Capital (that invested in VMware years ago).

Revenues:
In the single digit $ millions

Main executives:

  • CEO Kevin Brown previously served as CEO of virtualization software vendor Kidaro, acquired by Microsoft in 2008 as a key element of its Windows virtualization strategy. Before that, he was VP of NetApp for its security business unit, a company he joined from storage security firm Decru. Formerly, he was part of the founding team of Inktomi, which went public in 1998.
  • CTO and founder Brantley Coile is the man behind the technology. He brings over 30 years of technical and managerial experience with companies and research institutions including Network Translation, Cisco (he was the inventor of PIX Firewall and LocalDirector), Adaptive, Digital Transmission Systems, AT&T Bell Laboratories and the University of Georgia. He has an extensive background in designing communications protocols and OS for telephony applications and Internet infrastructure technologies.
  • EVP WW sales Carl Wright came from Kidaro and Decru.
  • VP channel and business development Josh Leslie - the son of Mark, see below - worked previously for VMware and Commvault.
  • There is also a very well known storage veteran in the company's advisory board, Mark Leslie, currently MD of private investment company Leslie Ventures, who was founder, chairman and CEO of Veritas Software where he grew the company from 12 to 5,500 employees and increased revenue from a base of $95,000 to $1.5 billion per year.

Number of employees:
25

Technology:
Coraid launched in 2005 its EtherDrive storage platform for the Linux market. The SAN products are built upon ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE), an open lightweight SAN protocol designed for the access of SATA storage devices over Ethernet networks, and supposed to give the possibility to build SANs with low-cost standard technologies. The communication that would take place between motherboard and IDE disk drive is arranged into data packets and sent through the Ethernet. AoE is not built on IP, TCP, or other protocols. It's direct. Packets are addressed to devices using their low-level Ethernet addresses (MAC addresses), not IP addresses. "EtherDrive delivers a 5-8x price performance advantage over legacy FC and iSCSI solutions, while eliminating layers of complex SAN management." The company also said that its SANs start at under $500 per terabyte and scale to multiple petabytes.

coraid_startupcoraid_2

Roadmap:
New product to be be launched in 1Q10

Distributors and OEMs:
New channel and VAR program also to be announced this quarter
 
Number of customers:
1,100 including NASA, MIT, Hostway, U.S. Navy, EADS, National Human Genome Research Institute (400TB)

Market:
Enterprise Storage

Primary Competitors:
Compellent, Dell/EqualLogic, 3Par, EMC, NetApp and EvoStor

Our Comments

Born ten years ago, is Coraid a start-up? Yes for us, as we consider a company being a start-up when it got VC funding the most recent years. And here, it was few days ago.

More precisely, Coraid is a spin off from The Brantley Coile Company that developed the PIX Firewall, sold by Cisco Systems. It also developed the Cisco LocalDirector TCP/IP load balancer.

Is ATA-over-Ethernet, a faster iSCSI alternative without the overhead of TCP/IP, a real disruptive storage technology? The firm already announced EtherDrive storage blades in 2003 and they didn't generate huge revenues. On the paper, it's impressive, but Coraid will have to prove it to the storage community. The recent addition of $10 million in funding could help.
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