Coraid: a 1,100 client start-up is challenging the storage industry


Coraid is unlike most start-up companies. It was founded by Brantley Coile (now CTO) at the beginning of 2000 and since then, it has had a serious track record of attracting loads of clients into its nets: more than 1,100 according to Kevin Brown, its new CEO (see picture on the left), and all acquired "without sales or marketing support" adds Brown. This is a strong and unmistakable sign that the technology is disruptive on that well-established storage market.

The company for which word-of-mouth turned out to be best salesman
It's word of mouth which has made it possible for Coraid to grow. But the aim now is to take the company's business development to the next stage -- an industrial one -- and this is why industry veterans such as Audrey Maclean (Chairman, ex-Adaptive CEO), and Kevin Brown (CEO, ex-Microsoft) have taken over. The end game is about turning Coraid into a worldwide industry leader. Coraid also raised $10 million in venture funding but the company "doesn't need money" Brown adds although "it's getting it anyway". So now the company is set to tackle this $20 billion market, through a 100% channel approach; needless to say that investors will keep a close watch on this company in the next few months or even years (but it's unlikely to remain independent for very much longer; when pressed on this point, the new management team is not making this a secret).

Etherdrive platform aims at disrupting SAN (storage area network) market
Coraid Etherdrive platform makes it possible to simplify SAN technologies so that they can be placed into anybody's hands, as well as change the economics of storage drastically (SAN TCO ends up being 5 to 8 times cheaper!). Coraid's trick was to avoid competing with or even improving on well-established SAN technologies like iSCSI or Fiber Channel; their approach on the contrary was to circumvent the issue and invent from scratch a disruptive piece of technology based on networking standards. That was made possible thanks to the invention of ATA Over Ethernet, a protocol deemed better than TCP/IP for this particular purpose by Brown: "the 'i' in iSCSI is standing for 'Internet'," Brown says. "It's a great protocol if you want to send information to China, but it's an awful one if you want to do storage". This, in essence is what is making Coraid stand out from its competition. Coraid's key markets are: virtualisation, cloud storage and high-performance computing projects such as the genome project and data warehousing. Last but not least, video and network surveillance are also on the agenda.

A visionary Systems integrator puts Coraid in the saddle in France
Paris-based Alyseo's co-founder and CTO Yacine Kheddache was with us during this visit of the silicon valley. Alyseo is a small but visionary outfit which was clever enough to spot Coraid before anyone else. They have been a partners of theirs since 2005. Alyseo have established a strong reputation for themselves, both in France and the US because of their in-depth knowledge of the virtualisation market. In the following video recording, Yacine describes how he came across Coraid and what makes the solution so interesting.

Yann Gourvennec

I specialize in information systems, HighTech marketing and Web marketing. I am author and contributor to numerous books and the CEO of Visionary Marketing. As such, I contribute regularly on this blog for Orange Business account on cloud computing and cloud storage topics.