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Multiprotocol storage vendor Reldata changes CEOs

Reldata has a new CEO, a little bit of new funding, and plans to expand its product platform and go-to-market channel.

Former Sun VP Victor Walker is the new CEO. Walker worked on Sun’s open storage and 7000 Unified Storage line. He left Sun in 2009 to become COO of file system startup ClusterStor, which was acquired by Xyratex last year. Walker replaces Steve Murphy, who left the CEO post after barely a year on the job to join a private equity firm but remains on the Reldata board.

Walker actually took over as CEO in October, but Reldata kept the changes secret until now. The vendor also got $4 million in funding from Grazia Equity, a German VC that has put up all of Reldata’s more than $18 million in funding. Walker said he plans to raise more money from U.S. VCs later this year.

But Walker’s immediate job is to make the Parsippany, NJ-based vendor better known in the storage world. He compares Reldata’s 9240i unified (iSCSI and NAS) storage systems to Sun’s 7000 platform (now the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance) and wonders why more people don’t know Reldata.

“I can’t figure out why Reldata isn’t a bigger company,” Walker said. “It’s technically accomplished the same thing Sun accomplished with open storage and its 7000 Unified Storage systems. The difference is, Sun built it on Solaris, Reldata built it on Linux.”

Walker said Reldata will add a platform around March that will be an addition to its current 9240i systems. He said the new systems will be in the high availability market. He also said Reldata’s roadmap includes data deduplication for primary data to go with the compression it offers now for remote replication.

Walker said about 60 customers purchased Reldata systems in the last year, and the vendor’s revenue increased 135% last year. He said Reldata added customers in healthcare, higher education, legal, cloud-based application services and energy last year.

Walker added that Reldata customers average between 20 TB and 40 TB, but one customer last year bought 1 PB of storage in a single site. He wouldn’t name the customer but said it deals in e-discovery and uses the Reldata storage in a private cloud.

Walker said the funding will be used to grow Reldata’s sale force and to attract new VARs and distribution partners — a task his predecessor also said he would focus on. Walker is going after channel partners looking to replace vendors that have been acquired in recent years, particularly Compellent (in the process of getting bought by Dell) and even LeftHand (acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2009).

“We want to get our name recognition out there and aggressively pursue channel partners who are disenfranchised with the recent consolidation,” he said.

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