Storage Startup BridgeSTOR Brings Dedupe, VM Storage To Channel

Storage startup BridgeSTOR emerged from stealth mode with the introduction of its new Application Optimized Storage appliances featuring deduplication of primary data and high-performance services for VMware virtual machine data.

Poway, Calif.-based BridgeSTOR unveiled two appliances in its AOS family.

The BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for Backup Exec 2010 comes pre-configured with Symantec's Data Deduplication Suite of software integrated with hardware-accelerated data compression technology to dedupe primary and secondary data as it is being stored, said John Matze, founder and CEO.

The BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for VMware Virtualization is focused specifically on backing up and recovering virtual machines and their data in VMware appliances, Matze said.

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BridgeSTOR is not a typical startup because Matze developed the appliances while at his previous employer, Fremont, Calif.-based Exar, from which he resigned earlier this month.

Exar already sells the appliances into the Japan market, but Matze saw the opportunity with Exar's blessing to set up his own company to focus specifically on selling them to U.S. solution providers, a core group of which have worked with him for years through a couple of startups and a stint at Overland Storage.

The Symantec dedupe technology used in the BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for Backup Exec 2010 reduces backup data by as much as 90 percent for both primary and backup data, Matze said. The appliance also provides compression, thin provisioning, and encryption of data at rest and in transition to the cloud, all of which is provided on an ASIC produced by Exar.

The result should be a significant drop in physical capacity needed to store customer data, he said.

"We're going to be able to do for storage what VMware did for servers," he said. "You walk into a data center today, and half the servers are missing. But next to the server rack is six racks of storage. We can cut that down to three racks. I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like that message."

That's an important message to solution providers, Matze said.

"We give the channel partner the opportunity to go in and re-evaluate their customers' backup," he said. "Partners often say they can't make money on backups. But here's a service, and a chance to upgrade customers' licenses."

Next: Focus On The Channel

The BridgeSTOR AOS Appliance for VMware Virtualization is focused specifically on protecting VMware ESX data as well as backing up virtual desktop images under VMware's VDI technology, Matze said.

"This is a perfect box for VDI," he said. "VDI copies the same virtual desktop images hundreds of times. With dedupe, there's only one copy. And because customers are reading a single image when booting up multiple virtual desktops at the start of the work day, it means a faster start in the morning."

Matze said BridgeSTOR is a 100-percent channel-focused company.

The company will initially go to market with a group of partners Matze calls "John's Club," or those he has worked with before who have shown they are focused on the business.

"In the past, I've had hundreds of resellers who want to help me sell," he said. "But there are about 10 percent of them who really do the work. So I want to start with them."

One member of "John's Club" is Cleveland-based Chi, which has already been testing the BridgeSTOR appliances, said Greg Knieriemen, Chi's vice president of marketing.

Chi has already been working with BridgeSTOR on how to collaborate to bundle the new storage appliances with other solutions, Knieriemen said.

"John has always been good to us," he said. "His products are always innovative. That's why he has a loyal group of partners. There's a comfort level when working with him. He's always taken care of customers and partners."

The new BridgeSTOR appliances are slated to ship by November 29. Matze said an add-on unit to help bridge those appliances to storage clouds is expected to be available by mid-2011.