Overland to enter primary storage market

By Ann Silverthorn

Overland Storage recently acquired Zetta Systems, a privately held developer of real-time data-protection software. Overland hopes that the $9 million, all-cash transaction will pave its way into the primary storage market.

Zetta’s Server IR virtualization software and Server NAS technology will form the heart of Overland’s Protection OS software and will be the engine for a protected primary storage array. Christopher Calisi, president and CEO of Overland, says the product will be available through the company’s worldwide indirect sales channel in the fourth quarter and will be comparable to, but less expensive than, products from vendors such as EqualLogic and Network Appliance. The array is expected to be available in Fibre Channel, NAS, and iSCSI configurations.

“We want to deliver enterprise-level products, specifically designed for the midrange, across all three tiers of storage-primary, secondary, and tertiary,” says Calisi. (Overland’s REO disk-based backup products cover the secondary tier and its NEO line of tape libraries represents the tertiary tier for data archiving.)

“With the new primary storage product, as soon as customers create information they can be assured that it’s protected,” says Calisi. “The data can then be moved over to REO and then out to tape.”

In addition to Server IR and Server NAS, Zetta sells a number of data-protection applications, including snapshot (ZSnap) and replication (ZDitto) software. Zetta also provides thin provisioning, which addresses the issue of over-provisioning storage capacity.

Zetta’s co-founders will join Overland’s management team. Ganapathy Krishnan, Zetta’s president and CEO, will become a part of Overland’s executive team in San Diego, reporting directly to Calisi, and John Guthrie, senior vice president and CTO, will remain at Zetta’s headquarters in Woodinville, WA.

The acquisition news came on the heels of Overland’s announcement that Hewlett-Packard-its largest OEM customer-will not purchase its next-generation midrange tape automation products from Overland. The company’s OEM contract with HP expires in the middle of next year.

When Calisi joined Overland four years ago, 80% of the company’s revenue came from Compaq (which was subsequently acquired by HP), a figure that is now about 53%. Calisi notes that HP’s business was extremely low margin and that the introduction of primary storage devices will lead to higher-margin business.

This article was originally published on September 01, 2005