Start-up backed by ex-IBM, EMC officials exits stealth mode

Atrato says its Acceleration Engine delivers up to 10,000 input/output operations per second while reducing the rack space and cooling requirements of a typical data center

A storage start-up called Atrato came out of stealth mode last week, announcing a new technology for high-speed and high-volume data access, and funding from former IBM and EMC executives.

Atrato is led by president and CEO Dan McCormick, who spent six years as the vice president of marketing and strategy for data storage vendorXiotech. Atrato says its Acceleration Engine delivers up to 10,000 input/output operations per second while reducing the rack space and cooling requirements of a typical data center.

Formerly known as Sherwood Information Partners, Atrato has US$18 million in funding from Jesse Aweida, founder and former president and CEO of StorageTek; Tom Porter, a former IBM storage executive who was also CTO of Seagate; Dick Blaschke, formerly of IBM, EMC and Xiotech; and Gary Gentry, a former executive with the Seagate-owned Maxtor.

Atrato began filing patent requests in December 2003 and was incorporated in April 2004, McCormick says.

Looking to compete against established storage giants like EMC, Atrato says its mix of hardware and software helps alleviate the I/O bottleneck between storage and servers to improve access to data. Customers would use Atrato's technology in conjunction with database management systems such as Oracle's 11g.

"We optimize performance of back-end storage and integrate new capability into existing applications," McCormick says.

The product is in limited availability and began shipping last year. McCormick wouldn't reveal the names of Atrato's customers, but says the company targets the content delivery market and customers with high-performance computing needs, like the oil and gas industry, and government agencies that need quick access to data to aid decision-making.

Atrato is still being secretive about several company details. McCormick refused to say how much Atrato's product costs.

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