Verari Revs Up with New CEO, Virtualization Plans

The blade system vendor says it is looking to expand its virtualization capabilities and its partnerships.

Blade system vendor Verari Systems has a new CEO and announces plans to roll out a host of new technologies in 2006 that are designed to enhance flexibility and resource utilization in the data center.

The San Diego-based company on June 20 said former EMC executive David Wright is taking over as CEO of Verari, replacing founder Dave Driggers, who will stay on as chairman and chief technology officer.

In an interview with eWEEK, the two men said the management change will enable Driggers to give more attention to the 10-year-old companys technology while Wright—who had served as executive vice president of strategic alliances and global accounts at EMC—will focus on Veraris business and its global expansion plans.

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Verari offers a range of blade servers, rack systems and storage devices powered by chips from both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, which, combined with the companys management software and cooling capabilities, are designed to give users greater flexibility and density in their data center resources.

"We see the intersection of blade servers and blade storage as [being] about giving a total offering to the customers," Wright said.

The new CEO had served in the same capacity with former high-end systems maker Amdahl and, after that, storage software vendor Legato (before EMC bought it in 2003). A member of Veraris board of directors, Wright said he accepted the CEO job because of the companys solid financial backing—including the Carlyle Group, based in Washington—the types of customers and its business possibilities.

"The demand is there," he said. "You dont have to create a market."

And now the company is looking to feed that demand with more products over the next six-plus months. A key focus of the strategy will be virtualization, Wright said. Many vendors have been able to figure out how to virtualize parts of the data center—servers, storage and networking—but "nobodys ever really married them together," he said.

VMware and Egenera in recent weeks have rolled out products designed to virtualize all data center resources, rather than simply servers. Verari is looking to do the same.

In August the company will roll out its Virtual Command Center software, which will enable users to manage multiple racks of servers—either from Verari or other vendors—from a single place. In addition, the company will begin opening up the APIs to its management software so that the software can interoperate with that of other vendors, such as Hewlett-Packards OpenView.

Driggers said Verari also is continuing with its plan to create an environment where the same basic blades can be used as either a server or storage device, depending on the needs of the user.

"A company can just buy a couple of SKUs and mix and match them," he said. "If you need more storage, just add some more blades."

Verari in September will begin rolling out pure storage disk blades that can hold up to 5 terabytes, with those blades being managed by a single management blade, Driggers said.

Initially Verari will offer SAS (serial-attached SCSI) interfaces on the individual blades, he said. However, in the first quarter of 2007, the company will move the connectivity to the backplane of the chassis, which will make managing, provisioning and configuring the blades as easy as pointing and clicking, he said.

In addition, Wright will look at partnerships as a way of expanding the companys reach. Verari currently is talking with EMC about a possible partnership, Wright said, though he declined to say if or when such a deal would be announced.

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