Startup Starboard Storage Cuts Sales Staff, Hangs 'For Sale' Sign


Starboard is now focusing on further development of its technology, and plans to deliver new code to existing customers in the second quarter, said Lee Johns, vice president of product management for the company.

Johns said Starboard has received inquiries about a possible acquisition from storage vendors looking to establish a presence in the hybrid SSD-hard disk array market.

He also noted that many of the recent flash storage announcements from companies such as EMC and NetApp are focused on acquisitions of or R & D in all-flash arrays, not hybrid arrays.

"We have a very innovative approach to pooling with hard drives and flash storage that is very much of interest to all those guys," he said.

Starboard's core technology is software that delivers a caching methodology that does not rely on traditional RAID, but instead offers read and write caches which are independently scalable, Johns said.

This is different from many of the hybrid SSD-hard drive vendors who really just add SSDs to a spinning-disk array without accounting for the separate features of each type of storage technology, Major said.

There is a lot of talk and confusion about hybrid storage arrays, and it is important for Starboard that it find the right partner to get its value and technology to market as quickly as possible, Johns said.

"For any company that understands how to build out a SAN-NAS architecture, we can offer hybrid flash technology which is being actively developed and which is battle-tested in the field as well," he said.

One solution provider which has sold several Starboard storage systems said it was too bad the company couldn't make it as a stand-alone company.

The solution provider, who requested anonymity, said the company had excellent products. "Their implementations of the SSD are simple and elegant," the solution provider said. "There's not a lot of complicated tiering or hot-spotting. And it's easy to change and upgrade the product."

Starboard knows how to simplify hybrid storage. "They subscribe to the 'KISS' principle of SSDs," the solution provider said. "It is almost like adding a turbocharger to SSDs. With some investment in software engineering, it could be a great product for any three-letter storage vendor."

KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN contributed to this story.

PUBLISHED MARCH 14, 2013