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CORAID Secures Series-A Investment of $10 Million, Names Executive Team, Reaches Over 1,100 Customers
CORAID Inc., a leading developer of scale-out storage with more than 1,100 customers worldwide, today announced that it has closed a $10 million Series-A financing round with Allegis Capital and Azure Capital Partners to accelerate the development and adoption of the CORAID® EtherDrive® storage platform. With this funding, the company has named multiple Silicon Valley veterans to its executive team, including: Kevin Brown as CEO, Audrey MacLean as chairman of the board, Carl Wright as executive vice president of worldwide sales, and Josh Leslie as vice president of channels and business development. Lara Druyan of Allegis Capital and Paul Weinstein of Azure Capital Partners have joined CORAID's board of directors; Mark Leslie and Charles Giancarlo have joined the advisory board and invested in the company.

CORAID is redefining the fundamental economics of storage with its Ethernet-based solutions that provide enterprises of all sizes with a flexible tier of high performance, scale-out storage. CORAID's breakthrough EtherDrive storage platform has organically amassed over 1,100 customers, including large enterprise and government organizations, since its 2005 launch into the Linux market. Using innovative software with 100-percent commodity hardware and raw Ethernet, EtherDrive storage arrays enable a scale-out SAN architecture that is ideally suited to dynamic virtualization and cloud environments. Starting at under $500 per terabyte and scaling to multiple petabytes, EtherDrive delivers a 5-8x price performance advantage over legacy Fibre Channel and iSCSI solutions, while eliminating layers of complex SAN management.

This announcement coincides with the completion of the U.S. National Institutes of Health's (NIH) deployment of CORAID's EtherDrive solution in its storage network to support high-performance computing for the National Human Genome Research project. Located in Rockville, Maryland, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is leading a nationwide effort to coordinate and accelerate human genome research. NHGRI has deployed more than 400 terabytes of CORAID EtherDrive storage in multiple environments, including high-performance computing, primary storage, and backup. The EtherDrive installation supports applications including DNA sequencing, bio-informatics, and data reduction.

"CORAID EtherDrive gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility in how we configure our storage -- something that is critical in the fast-changing world of next-generation sequencing," said Dr. Elliott Margulies, an investigator in NHGRI's Genome Informatics Section.

Changes in the Storage Market

Rapid adoption of virtualization and cloud computing has increased the need for flexible, scalable networked storage. Legacy storage area network (SAN) systems, which evolved from mainframe-era designs, are costly and poorly suited to modern virtualization environments. In fact, storage systems have become the number one cost item associated with many IT projects, and frustrated customers are demanding alternatives.

"We believe the storage market has reached an inflection point, much like the server market, where expensive big boxes are being replaced by clusters of commodity hardware tied together with virtualization," said Kevin Brown, CEO of CORAID. "Our EtherDrive platform redefines storage economics for customers while simplifying storage networking for a new generation of scale-out virtual data centers."

"CORAID founder and CTO Brantley Coile has developed the most disruptive storage technology I have seen in the last 25 years," said Audrey MacLean, CORAID's newly appointed chairman of the board. "We have brought together an exceptional team of executives, investors, and advisors to pursue this opportunity, and our customers have repeatedly told us we're on to something big."

New Executives, Board Members, and Advisory Board

CORAID has assembled a proven team of executives and advisors to drive the company's growth:

Kevin Brown, CEO, previously served as:

  • CEO of virtualization software vendor Kidaro, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2008 as a key element of its Windows virtualization strategy
  • Vice president at NetApp, where he was an advisor to the U.S. Congress, Federal Trade Commission, and U.S. Department of Defense
  • Vice president of marketing on the original executive team of storage security firm Decru (acquired by NetApp)
  • Part of the founding team of Inktomi, which went public in 1998. As vice president and general manager of the company's networking business. Brown was instrumental in driving the company's growth to over $200 million in revenue and helped commercialize the industry's first scale-out parallel computing architecture used on the Internet.
  • A member of the Dean's Advisory Council, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
       

Chairman of the Board Audrey MacLean has a unique track record for entrepreneurial success as a founder, CEO, seed investor, and board member. Her accomplishments include:

  • Named to Forbes' Midas Touch list
  • Named to BusinessWeek's 50 Most Influential Businesswomen in America
  • Founder of Network Equipment Technologies (NET), which went public in 1987
  • Co-founder and CEO of Adaptive, which merged with NET in 1993
  • Consulting associate professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University
  • Board member of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership 
  • Helped launch and grow many companies that have achieved public offerings or successful acquisitions, including Pure Software, IronPort Systems, Pete's Brewing, AdForce, dsl.net, Selectica, and Internet Middleware
       

Lara Druyan, a general partner at Allegis Capital, has been named to the CORAID board of directors. Her accomplishments include:

  • Named one of Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's 2009 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley
  • Responsible for desktop software business at Silicon Graphics 
  • Serving as an investment banker to telecom, media and tech companies at Merrill Lynch
       

According to Druyan, "Cloud service providers are building massive data centers using commodity hardware and virtualization software, and enterprises are increasingly looking to replicate the benefits and economics of this model in their own data centers. CORAID's scale-out architecture provides an ideal platform for both public and private cloud storage."

Paul Weinstein, a general partner of Azure Capital Partners, has also been named to the CORAID Board of Directors. His accomplishments include:

  • Founder Azure Capital Partners
  • Managing director and analyst covering the data communications, network equipment and storage sectors at Credit Suisse First Boston, DMG Technology Group, and PaineWebber
  • Four consecutive years as the top-ranked analyst in the Institutional Investor and Greenwich Associates surveys.
       

"When Azure invested in VMware years ago, we were betting on a fundamental change in data center computing," said Weinstein "We believe that the storage market will move to a similar scale-out commodity hardware model, and CORAID is ideally positioned to lead this wave."

Mark Leslie, managing director of Leslie Ventures, a private investment company, has been named to CORAID's advisory board. His successes include:

  • Founding chairman and CEO of VERITAS Software, where he grew the company from 12 to 5,500 employees deployed globally and increased revenue from a base of $95,000 per year to $1.5 billion per year. In 2000, VERITAS was the tenth largest independent software company by revenue, third largest by market capitalization, and achieved the distinction of becoming a Fortune 1000 company.
  • From 1980 until 1990 he served as president and CEO of two Silicon Valley high-tech startup companies
  • Designed and developed the first software hypervisor, while employed at IBM in 1969
  • Currently a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he teaches courses on entrepreneurship and sales organization
       

Leslie commented, "Great companies rarely cater to the status quo. CORAID has invented a powerful new approach for storage, and I believe it will find strong adoption in some of the fastest-growing segments of the market."

Charles Giancarlo, a managing director and co-head of value creation at Silver Lake Partners, has also been named to the advisory board. Giancarlo has over 25 years of experience in the communications industry including:

  • Ten years as a senior executive at Cisco Systems, where he served as executive vice president and chief development officer of Cisco and president of Cisco-Linksys, leading the company's overall product development and management activities
  • Vice president of marketing and corporate development at Kalpana, Inc., the pioneer in Ethernet switching (acquired by Cisco) 
  • Founded four communications equipment companies and successfully sold two of them to larger companies
  • Interim CEO of Avaya in 2008, where he is currently chairman of the board
       

"CORAID has brilliantly employed Ethernet to solve many of the long-standing challenges in storage networking," Giancarlo declared. "By cutting out unnecessary layers of technology and eliminating the need for complex topologies, CORAID simultaneously enables higher performance and less hassle."

Carl Wright has been named executive vice president of worldwide sales. Wright's experience includes serving as:

  • Vice president of sales and corporate strategy at Kidaro (acquired by Microsoft)
  • Vice president of federal operations for Decru (acquired by NetApp)
  • Vice president of federal operations at Securify (acquired by Secure Computing).
  • Chief information security officer for the U.S. Marine Corps. As CISO, Wright was responsible for the day-to-day operation and global defense of the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN), which scaled to support over 120,000 users worldwide. In 1999, he was awarded the National Security Agency's Frank B. Rowlett Trophy for worldwide information security professional of the year.
       

Josh Leslie has been named vice president of channels and business development. His experience includes:

  • Senior director of desktop business development for VMware's Desktop Business Unit
  • Sales and sales management roles at VMware, where he was a key contributor helping the company scale from $100 million to $1.5 billion in less than five years
  • Positions at CommVault Systems and the Technology Investment Banking group of UBS Securities
Published Monday, January 25, 2010 6:41 AM by David Marshall
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