July 3, 2017

Coraid is back

Coraid (www.coraid.com), leader and inventor of the ATA over Ethernet aka AoE approach, is back from failure. Following some management decisions then difficulties, Coraid has ceased its operations in January 2015.

We had the privilege to meet Brantley Coile with the IT Press Tour team a few days ago to receive a fresh update on the Coraid story and of course on the promising future.

Brantley Coile, CEO of the new Coraid
After articulating the genesis of AoE and its advantages, Brantley Coile has insisted on the simplicity of the protocol and the price of an array that justify this alternative choice. For instance a SRX block storage array with 36 x 8TB disks and the associated license cost only $20,956 or $0,0013/GB/mo. over 5 years, pretty compelling. The running operating system is Plan 9, the successor of Unix from Bell Labs, it's more than a detail as you'll read below.

So what happened to Coraid as the trajectory was impressive?

First, Brantley founded the company in 2000 with the PIX money and FCS came in 2004 to reach 1000+ customers and $12M in sales. Something was happening as the market has adopted it and recognized the value of the AoE approach.

Next phase was a new dimension for the company with the injection of VC money for a total of $100M in 4 rounds starting in 2010. It means a new management came on board both as the executive level and the board and Coraid got more structured and organized. So far good points at least from an external point of view. We met Coraid during the real 1st edition of The IT Press Tour in June 2010 and we were super impressed. The company continues to grow at a rapid pace and the revenue climbed to $48M, headcount to 159 but in 2013 things started to slow down. Brantley finally left in May 2014 and Coraid ceased operation in January 2015. After a tentative with David Kresse, last Coraid CEO, and Keith Carpenter, last VP Sales, with their new adventure at Intermodal Data, nothing really took off.

Brantley insisted on one mistake the management has made at that time: the decision to switch from Plan 9 to Solaris. A clear observation was the divergence between a technical project but easy product and new CEOs non technical at all. We also understood some other aspects than finally destroy the company.

And finally SouthSuite the new home of Brantley acquired back the "Coraid trademark, domain name and the rest of classic Coraid technology" mid 2016. Now the new Coraid, based in Athens, GA, is here to stay, no VC money, fully independent, already profitable and already in full support of the installed base and thinking about new product development and direction. We'll be good to meet again next year to measure progress...

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