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Overland Storage reboots with product and tech drive

Loads of 'cool, exciting' products on the way

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Why do people leave a successful startup and, rather than join another startup, join a mature and almost failed tape storage vendor – one that's escaped Nasdaq delisting by the skin of its teeth, twice, and has a share price determined to show that gravity exerts a downward force?

We met Jillian Mansolf at SNW Europe 2010 in Frankfurt and talked about the launch of Overland's SnapSAN S1000 product, as well as asking her about leaving the Drobo company and joining Overland.

She said she had a terrific time at Data Robotics, helping to take this company and its Drobo product to a market-leading position in its external storage niche. After leaving the sleek motor yacht that is Data Robotics in 2009 she could have had the pick of many larger companies but instead, in July she transferred to the leaky old tramp steamer that was Overland Storage, becoming VP for global sales and marketing under new broom CEO Eric Kelly.

Why?

Mansolf said: "My work at Data Robotics was done ...  Data Robotics was a risk when I went there. People thought I was insane. [But] it seemed like a great opportunity [and] I love building things. It was a ton of fun, a great team and I'm sure it will be successful.

"I have a relationship with Eric [Kelly] that spans a decade. ...  Overland is a unique challenge, no doubt about it. It has a lot of great people, great technology. At Overland we completely changed marketing. It was an opportunity to come into a big publicly-traded company."

She continued: "I'd do it again ... even with what I learned."

How is business at Overland? "Good. We have an amazing channel, we have a lot of people rooting for us. We're hiring a lot of engineers [and] have a lot of cool, exciting, things coming in the next 12 months."

Well, yes, she would say that wouldn't she but product matters at Overland do seem to be getting a lot sharper with the pace of product introduction and technology development speeding up. Last month the company announced it was buying the IP and some assets of clustered filer startup MaxiScale. Last week it introduced its second SnapServer-based storage area network (SAN) product, the SnapSAN S1000, aimed at the small and medium business market.

Surprisingly for an aggressively priced low-end product, it has both Fibre Channel and iSCSI connectivity, and gives Overland's channel a box that can meet both the low-end block storage market and medium business market needs. And all this without requiring a product change, as is the case, Overland EMEA head Andy Walsky says, with Dell: "You have to go to EMC CLARiiON to get Fibre Channel."

Walsky said: "Our first order was for dual fibre, and it was from a well-known enterprise in Europe but not for the data centre ... We don't position it as an enterprise product."

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