Feeds

Copan moves to indirect sales channel

The MAID lays many people off

Boost IT visibility and business value

The lights are dimmer now

Copan, founded in 2002, invented its MAID technology to store massive amounts of data in densely packed storage arrays with three-quarters of the disks powered down at any one time to save on power costs and, by avoiding heat build-up, to enable drive enclosures to hold many more drives than ordinary drive arrays.

The Revolution array product was geared to answer customers' supposed green concerns, including restricted data centre electricity supply, and to take vast amounts of unstructured and little-accessed reference information off primary arrays, thus enabling them to be smaller and cheaper. The idea was that data on the arrays would be much more accessible than tape vault data.

That was true, and there was enough early success for investors to fund the company though several rounds, and for it to take on an aggressive and expansion-minded CEO, Mark Ward. In 2008 he greatly expanded Copan's development resources and built out a worldwide sales-office infrastructure.

But Ward's efforts were wasted. Customers did not buy the kit, which was heavier than normal arrays. Promising bids were lost because data centre floors were not strong enough to bear the load.

Then the recession happened and the green imperative customers were affected by turned out to be a chimera. They needed to save money, and buying a revolutionary array from a startup seemed a risky proposition - especially when mainstream vendors introduced drive spin-down into their arrays, and when Nexsan introduced graduated spin-down with faster access to data held on partially spun-down drives.

Customers with tape libraries continued to buy them, but then deduplication technology enabled a normal array to hold three to six times its rated capacity of data - or more - because redundant data was detected and ejected. As Data Domain's fortunes rose, Copan's sank.

The investors, through the board, fired Mark Ward in July; no new CEO or temporary CEO was named. Instead, leadership appeared to be in the hands of Dew, Santilli, and Layton. The company shut down sales offices everywhere outside the USA and shrank its sales structure there, as well.

In late August there was a surprise $3m funding round followed by rumours of an IBM interest in the company or its technology.

It's a sad event for the laid-off staff in this Christmas month. The investors may still have hopes of getting a return on their $110m total investment, though. Everything now depends upon the efficacy of the so-far-unidentified channel partners. Let's wish the remaining core of Copan good luck and an early recovery from the recession. The MAID may still yet sing. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.