JNI buys Troika Networks' Fibre Channel technology

Troika has sold its Fibre Channel technology to HBA maker JNI. The company is attempting to move toward a storage services platform that consolidates multiple storage networking tasks into a centrally managed device.

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Troika Networks is parting ways with its Fibre Channel hardware and software products with the announcement of a $10 million licensing agreement with JNI.

JNI Corp., San Diego, Calif., and Troika Networks Inc., Westlake Village, Calif., announced that JNI has licensed the exclusive rights to Fibre Channel software and hardware products for storage area networks (SANs) in enterprise class servers running Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Solaris operating systems.

The licensing and royalty agreement provides JNI with an exclusive source code license to Troika's Path Command Plus software that provides high availability for both host and target devices through host bus adapters (HBAs) in Fibre Channel SANs. Additionally, JNI also acquired exclusive distribution rights for Troika?s Zentai family of controllers for use as SCSI-to-Fibre Channel HBAs.

JNI will take over all sales and support of current Zentai HBAs and Path Command Plus software on the market and, beginning today, these products will be released by JNI and are available immediately.

JNI makes host bus adapters (HBAs) that connect servers to storage devices and competes with Emulex Corp., and QLogic Corp.

Eric Sheppard, senior research analyst for International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass., said Troika might have encountered some growing pains in a market filled with more recognizable names.

Since Troika is a start-up - founded in 1998 - it may have suffered some customer hesitation when it came to SAN adoption.

"Troika didn't get the traction like they would have had with a brand like JNI's," said Sheppard. He said trepidation about the complexity of SANs is driving customers toward bigger brand names with proven track records.

"JNI can bring the technology that Troika created into more channels and customers," said Carin De Groff, Troika's director of marketing.

"The sale of the Zentai product family and Path Command Plus is a win-win for both Troika and JNI. This enables Troika to focus on a newer product line, the upcoming storage services platform," she said.

Troika is changing its storage focus by creating what it calls a storage services platform. The new technology consolidates multiple storage networking tasks into a centrally managed device, Troika said. Target customers for Troika?s storage services platform deploy and manage large data centers using Fibre Channel-based storage networks.

JNI said 2001 was a tough year to be in the Solaris market, which accounts for approximately 90% of JNI's revenue. This deal gives JNI a quick entry into high-end Windows storage environments.

"We've had a windows driver, but there has been nothing compelling about it over our competition," Chris Wildermuth, Director Strategic Marketing, JNI Corp. "This [licensing agreement] gives us a jump start on our own technology development by at least a year."

The Path Command Plus software, currently running on the Zentai HBAs, is certified by a number of major SAN vendors in Windows environments.

Troika will focus efforts on its recently announced fabric-based storage services platform technology. In addition JNI will migrate Path Command Plus to JNI?s FibreStar family of 2GB/sec Ready Fibre Channel HBAs.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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