Sealed drive storage firm preps for emergency 'rebirth'

Tricky when you've cut 25% of staff

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Atrato, the startup selling Velocity arrays based on sealed drive canisters, is facing revenue problems with layoffs, a new strategy, and a quest for more funding.

The Velocity arrays uses disk enclosures filled with up to 160 2.5-inch hard drives, and 1U solid state drive (SSD) enclosures with up to ten drives, plus ApplicationSmart software to tier data across the drive types in real time. In fact it replicates data blocks from the hard drives to the SSD tier.

Steve Visconti is Atrato's president and CEO. His sales VP is Jeff Edwards, the former VP Sales at NECAM, who joined in November last year, replacing the unfortunate Marty Sos who had joined the firm just three months before. He replaced Kevin Cordell, who lasted 13 months in the post.

Bob Mottram is Atrato's marketing VP, joining the company in October 2009. Mottram and Edwards have wide experience, and both feature Copan time in their CVs. Mottram is said to have expertise in technology management, corporate acquisition and public company funding.

El Reg has been told that up to 25 per cent of Atrato's staff has been laid off and Visconti was trying to raise funding to keep the company afloat. Mottram said: "Yes, we had to let a few people go [and] yes, indeed, we are out there aggressively seeking more funding."

"We have also made a strategic change, towards to being more of a software company, but not moving totally out of hardware. … We are now talking to a number of ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) and third-party manufacturers to expand our range."

"On the software side Application Smart is the first instantiation of a software product for intelligent tiering. It's agnostic concerning tier zero (SSD) array hardware and becoming agnostic concerning the back-end spinning disk. It uses DataAccess Profiler to look at the data workflow at a block level and move high-access blocks to SSD." Atrato is selling it as a packaged tool.

Mottram said: "A new device is coming providing very innovative data management capabilities, also hardware agnostic." He said the second aspect of the strategy change at Atrato is changing its market focus away from direct to more of an OEM, indirect model. Atrato is in active talks with six potential OEMs, one of which is a software company.

This is a serious moment in Atrato's history, with Mottram saying: "Rebirthing is not an easy thing to do. Change is not easy. There are no guarantees going forward." ®

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