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Souped-up Coraid aims to change its spots

From pussycat to panther?

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

"Instead of building reliability into the pipes, which has a lot of complexity, we build reliable delivery into the initiator and the target. iSCSI tried this with TCP/IP - but that's email and latency is 200 milliseconds round trip. It's crazy protocol to use to send data 1 metre.

"We use different and better code. Our round trip latency is measured in microseconds; it's bare metal, raw L2 Ethernet frames."

"We're working with Arista. Andy Becholsheim is not exactly a fan of FCOE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) - it brings a whole later of rigidity onto something elegant and flexible that's Layer 2 Ethernet. We're massively parallel - it's datagram-based."

He's banging away at the cost, simplicity and speed drums, hoping to drown out competing marketing messages from mainstream suppliers. Until we have independent benchmark numbers we can't actually verify what he's saying about Coraid's product performance in an objective way.

Proprietary AoE

What about the accusation that AoE is proprietary? Brown said: "It's been native in the Linux kernel since 2005. Other companies are using it, for example, Whiptail. The existing trad array suppliers depend on FC-style networking. They could slap AoE on the side. Our competitive assumption is they will.

"The AoE potocol is really an un-protocol; it's 12-pages long [and] we've posted it on our website. The iSCSI protocol is 100s and 100s of pages long, ditto FC. We have taken that complexity out of the network."

But it may be that the reason that the iSCSI and FC protocols are so detailed is that they do a whole lot more and the resulting network connectivity is more reliable and robust. A bicycle is a heck of a lot simpler than a car but the two machines are meant to do different things and can't be substituted for each other.

How would he contrast Coraid with Nexsan, Pillar Data and Xiotech? "They all did vitamins, storage supplements, clever software to make storage arrays go faster." Hs notion is that they overcomplicated things when what was needed was more simplicity, and that's what AoE brings.

Brown presents Coraid as having a fire in its belly. "Our deal cycle is 35 days. Our win rate is very good‚ the starting cost is $20K or $30K. Customers find a small project. We land and then we expand… Everyone's pretty excited."

We mustn't forget that Brown is pumping up the prospects of his company. He's a CEO. If he didn't do this stuff then he doesn't deserve to be in the job.

Coraid is setting up an expanded and locally managed EMEA channel. If Coraid, its boosting CEO, and its channel can convince customers that Coraid's cost and simplicity advantages are real and that its storage functionalities are robust, reliable and dependable, then it will have turned a corner and can start growing strongly. ®

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