Datacore: Building Ubiquity


In 1997, Teixeira and a dozen or so colleagues left Ancor Computers when it was purchased by Sun Microsystems for $185 million. The team regrouped and spent a year working without salaries on a new software product that Teixeira hoped would do for storage what the desk icon did for printers. In a nutshell, he wanted to make storage available from any location, at any time.

"Basically, we didn't take a job at Sun and we became homeless in South Florida," Teixeira jokes. "We stole personal computers from our children and we diligently got to work."

Datacore Software was formed, pulling in more than $70 million in venture capital and strategic partner funding. Analysts say it took Datacore a few months to get some traction in the market, but its SANsymphony software, which virtualizes storage management, was one of the few early products. It competes with alternatives from Falconstor Software, Viacom and StorageApps, which HP purchased for $350 million in July 2001.

To get a stronger foothold in this market, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company is building ties to major vendors in hopes SANsymphony will be embedded in all storage devices. And Datacore considers the channel and resellers one of the main tools to accomplish this goal.

"We want to have as many feet on the street [as we can to pedal the product," says Ken Horner, vice president of marketing. "Sometimes, we liken ourselves to a small arms dealer."

The approach is winning some fans, including HP. Last year, Datacore's software was used to secure a deal between HP and telecommunications firm Belgacom of France. Originally, HP pitched Hitachi's enterprise storage disk array, which HP resells, to Belgacom. But then Hitachi decided to take the sale direct. Rather than fold, HP sales came back with another offer: Instead of purchasing enterprise-level products, why not buy a midtier storage device layered with Data- core software?

"They were able to get back the deal, based on price performance," Horner explains. "They put the right product together for the right solution."

In November 2001, Datacore inked a reseller agreement with IBM so that SANsymphony's IP-based disk mirroring and other storage functions would be available on the IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server (code-named Shark). And it also took on Hitachi and Intel as strategic partners. The one partner they have not managed to pull into their net is storage giant EMC, Hopkinton, Mass.

"You are either working with EMC, or you are working with everyone else," Horner says. "Frankly, we have not seen the need to do anything on the EMC front. [Besides, we like our position of sitting in front of an IBM Shark or Hitachi Lightning."