BlueArc: Going It Alone

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BlueArc's CEO and president Enrico Pesatori predicts that the $72 million it raised in April 2001 will be its last funding until the company becomes profitable.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company already plans to update its Silicon

Server,on the market for six months now,this month by adding more management features and HTTP capabilities. As a hybrid NAS and SAN device, the Silicon Server scales up to 250 terabytes. By the second half of this year, BlueArc will offer version 2.0, so that customers can add 16 terabytes at one time with a single volume addition.

Founder and CTO Geoff Barrell developed a set of chips that enable computers to concentrate on shifting high volumes of data at fast speeds over the Internet, rather than churning slowly through lengthy decoding and recoding processes, which use up to 40 percent of computing power.

"Our business goal is to design a very high-end performing server that works with Gigabit networks, so the customer can take full advantage of optical networks they have installed," Pesatori says.

What is not in BlueArc's immediate plans is to sell its product through the channel or VARs. It is partnering with large systems integrators, such as EDS, to bring the Silicon Server to large accounts, but, for the most part, it is a go-it-alone strategy. Executives say it is one of the main distinctions they hold above all the other start-ups.

"Everyone else is thrashing through what channel they are going to use and what resellers. No one has taken this direct model," says Charles Joseph, senior vice president of sales, marketing and services. "We still have three and a half support people per salesperson."

When BlueArc first launched in March 2001, executives identified their main competitors as EMC and Network Appliance, both leaders in their respective SAN and NAS markets. But since then, Pesatori has readjusted the company's goals.

"I would like to say we want to be another EMC," Pesatori jokes, "but on the way up, we will settle for being another NetApp."

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