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Is Starboard Storage a startup or Reldata 2.0?

Starboard Storage Systems launched today, portraying itself as a brand new startup with a new technology and architecture for unified storage. But Starboard is in many ways a re-launch of Reldata, which had been selling multiprotocol storage for years.

Starboard didn’t volunteer information about its Reldata roots, although representatives freely admitted it when asked. With its new AC72 storage system, Starboard wants to appear as a fresh, shiny company rather than one that has been around the block many times without making much of an impact on the storage world.

“It’s not a rebranding of Reldata but Starboard is not your typical startup,” said Starboard chief marketing officer Karl Chen, who joined the company after it became Starboard. “[Reldata] had great technology, so why not absorb Reldata and reduce our time to market? This way, we were able to get to market a lot faster by leveraging what Reldata had. We had the option of starting brand new or taking something that would accelerate our time to market.”

Starboard has the same CEO, CTO, engineering VP and sales chief as Reldata, and has not yet raised any new funding. Starboard’s 30 employees are a mix of Reldata holdovers and new hires. The AC72 includes Reldata intellectual property and was developed in part by Reldata engineers.

“Absolutely, there is technology that we are leveraging from Reldata to build the Starboard Storage product,” Chen said. But he points out that the Starboard product is a new architecture with a different code base. The RelData 9240i did not support Fibre Channel, it was a single controller system, and used traditional RAID blocks. There was no dynamic pooling or SSD tier. “It’s a completely different product from what (Reldata) was selling,” Chen added.

The company also moved from Parsippany, NJ to Broomfield, Colo., which has a deep workforce with storage experience. Starboard CEO Victor Walker, CTO (and Reldata founder) Kirill Malkin, VP of engineering John Potochnik and director of sales Russell Wine were all part of Reldata. They are joined by chairman Bill Chambers, the LeftHand Networks founder and CEO who sold the iSCSI SAN company to HP for $360 million in 2008.

Starboard will continue to service Reldata 9240i systems, but will not longer sell the Reldata line.

(Sonia R. Lelii contributed to this blog).

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