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Start-up nabs QLogic technology, facility and storage team

Storage start-up YottaYotta, Inc., has acquired technology, a handful of storage engineers and a new development facility from QLogic Corp., as part of YottaYotta's strategic expansion plan. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The technology that changed hands is known as AdaptiveRAID, an intelligent RAID technology that automatically adapts to changes in the I/O workload thereby eliminating the need for the end-user to decide on RAID levels or stripe sizes for optimal performance.

The addition of AdaptiveRAID to YottaYotta's intellectual portfolio is deja vu for president and co-founder Steve Mattioli. His former company, Seek Systems, licensed AdaptiveRAID from its original developer, Borg Adaptive Technologies, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of nStor Corp. In January of last year QLogic purchased AdaptiveRAID from Borg for $7.5 million. QLogic simultaneously assumed a lease on the aforementioned Boulder, Colo., development facility.

While it seems AdaptiveRAID is circulating more than the average dollar bill, the acquisition could mark the reemergence of the technology as a value-add for many storage environments.

AdaptiveRAID includes an I/O analyzer function that stores data at the optimal RAID level according to the nature of the application. Also, the existing cache memory function is supplemented with a solid-state disk (SSD) function and by using a magnetic disk for the overflow portion of the data. The SSD includes a dynamic learning function algorithm and stores the active block based on the hit information.

AdaptiveRAID?s mixed disk capacity feature maximizes array capacity by allowing users to add additional disks of varying capacities and vendors to an existing array without sacrificing capacity or performance. Other features include multiple global hot-spares, multi-processor support, drive roaming, and dynamic capacity expansion, allowing users to add disk drives to a RAID set without bringing down the server, and backing up and restoring data.

Competing technologies like Hewlett-Packard's AutoRAID are also designed to provide optimal RAID performance under most I/O loads.

As part of the transaction, YottaYotta will assume QLogic's facility in Boulder as YottaYotta?s second strategic development center, giving the company a foothold for building a Colorado-based development center to work in concert with its Edmonton research and development (R&D) facility.

"The acquisition fits into YottaYotta in two ways," said Mattioli. "The collection of storage engineers that made up the QLogic team [are an invaluable resource for us going forward] and the AdaptiveRAID technology lends itself well to the long term plans for our product line."

Mattioli added that YottaYotta now has ten engineers at the newly acquired Boulder location that will be working in conjunction with the existing (R&D) facility in Edmonton. "Our human resources and recruiting people have also already begun interviews for additional staff for this facility. We're going to add personnel and draw on the large amount of talent available in the area," Mattioli said.

"The AdaptiveRAID technology is a nice addition to YottaYotta's intellectual property portfolio because RAID 5 is a currently popular storage technology that provides lots of storage capacity, but it also slows performance. The AdaptiveRAID technology eliminates this performance problem," said Cindy Salazar, director of marketing communications for YottaYotta.

"YottaYotta will not immediately incorporate AdaptiveRAID into our product. Eventually, however, we will utilize AdaptiveRAID in conjunction with YottaYotta's other patented storage innovations," said Salazar. "As far as identifying the role this technology will play in YottaYotta's future, it is still not fully determined."

As part of the deal QLogic has retained a license for usage of AdaptiveRAID. YottaYotta is still considering whether or not they will license the technology to other vendors.

QLogic issued a press release stating that its increased focus on emerging technologies, like iSCSI and InfiniBand, has emphasized the company's investment in core I/O technologies, which it feels will provide a greater return to its stockholders. As part of the transaction QLogic retained a license to use the AdaptiveRAID technology, which continues to play a role in the company's product offerings.

YottaYotta?s acquisition of the AdaptiveRAID technology is effective immediately and integration of the Boulder facility and its staff has already begun.

QLogic does not expect a material impact to earnings in its fourth fiscal quarter ending April 1, 2001 as a result of this transaction.

YottaYotta has developed the NetStorage Cube which utilizes distributed supercomputing and clustering to bring scalability of performance and redundancy to storage geographically distributed storage environments.

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

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