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Solid-state disk vendor goes under

In a turn of events that has confused both users and partners, solid-state disk storage vendor Imperial Technology Inc. has apparently closed up shop.

In a turn of events that has confused both users and partners, solid-state disk (SSD) storage vendor Imperial Technology...

Inc. has apparently closed up shop. learned that El Segundo, Calif.-based Imperial was missing in action after being contacted by a user who was testing Imperial's MegaRam 2000 solid-state disk product. The user said he could not access the company's Web site.

Not only is Imperial's Web site down, its telephone numbers have been disconnected, and repeated attempts to contact the company's executive leaders, including Robert David, president and CEO, have been unsuccessful.

The shut down of Imperial leaves unanswered questions around support and service for the "thousands" of customers it has sold products to since the company was started in 1978.

Even Imperial's partners in the storage industry are befuddled by the company's disappearing act. Representatives for Tek-Tools Inc., FalconStor Software Inc. and QLogic Corp. admitted they were in the dark about Imperial.

Tek-Tools entered a partnership with Imperial in 2002 under which Tek-Tools' Storage Profiler was being offered by Imperial for use with its MegaRam solid-state disks and SANaccelerator SSD systems. FalconStor was reselling Imperial's SANaccelerator. And QLogic partnered with Imperial to offer both QLogic's SAN Connectivity Kit 1000 and an Imperial file cache accelerator.

Mike Karp, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., said the fact that no one seems to know anything indicates Imperial is dead and buried.

"It tells me that [Imperial's partners] have not had active relationships with the company. [Imperial has] just kind of ditched the world," said Karp, who has covered the solid-state storage market and Imperial.

Imperial's SANaccelerator had been aimed at the wave of people using solid-state disk to speed up the performance of SANs. SANaccelerator connects directly to Fibre Channel SANs and is designed to deliver shared capacity to multiple applications and multiple servers in the same way as consolidated disk storage.

Now, Karp said, Texas Memory Systems Inc. is the only SSD vendor making noise in the storage industry. "Solid-state has always been a challenge to make a business out of," he said. "Now [Imperial is] gone."

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

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