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Xiotech dumps Magnitude, aims for the enterprise

Xiotech has made sweeping changes in its executive suite over the last four months, beginning with the hiring of CEO Alan Atkinson last September. Atkinson revamped his management team, bringing in chief strategy officer Jim McDonald and VP of marketing and business development Brian Reagan.

Now the new team is ready to make product changes. First, it is getting rid of the Magnitude SAN platform. The Magnitude will be end-of-lifed at the end of the month, although the vendor will support systems in the field.

That’s no surprise. Xiotech shifted its resources to the Emprise series based on Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) technology two years ago after buying the technology from Seagate, and the new management team is fully committed to continuing down that path.

“That is what we’re about,” Reagan said of ISE. “All coming product announcements will be ISE-centric.”

The strategy now is to make the Emprise more of an enterprise play to broaden Xiotech’s market from primarily a midrange play.

“We have ambitions to take Xiotech public,” Reagan says. “We’ve been a midmarket storage company. We see an opportunity to move into the enterprise in a greater fashion. To do that, you need a presence in specific industries such as financial institutions. We see a need to embed ISE technology behind other technologies to make them work better with ISE.”

A big part of the strategy is to make Emprise work better with server virtualization stacks from VMware, Microsoft and Citrus, Reagan says. Another step is to make ISE technology work better with home-grown code financial institutions often use for their storage systems.

Support for solid state drives is also in Xiotech’s plans for the Emprise platform this year. Reagan says the systems can support SSD now, but Xiotech has reliability concerns about SSDs. “The problem we have with solid state is, from a reliability and performance standpoint, SSDs operate like regular hard drives but are massively more expensive,” he said. “As they become full, they become slower. We offer a built-in five-year hardware warranty. Solid state can’t live up to our reliability requirements now. It will get there eventually, though.”

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