Ciprico Sells Off RAIDCore

Minnesota-based Ciprico has seen its RAIDCore technology as the wave of the future—and the present, even—for advanced server systems. The technology moved server controls from hardware to software, with potentially huge savings in operational costs.

Ciprico has sold off RAIDCore, the technology driving products like its MediaVault servers. But RAIDCore has had a tough time getting commitments from big OEMs. July 28, Ciprico declared bankruptcy, and Sept. 23 it announced it had sold the RAIDCore line and its NAS (Networked Attached Storage) intellectual property assets and employee relationships to Carlsbad, Calif.-based Dot Hill Systems Corp.

Ciprico CEO Steve Merrifield said the technology is not ahead of its time; its time is now, he said, but big OEMs weren't jumping in to build a relationship with a small company that hadn't turned a profit since 1999 on its RAID.

"It's unfortunate that we didn't have the ability to take the RAIDCore product where it could go," Merrifield said in an interview. "Software-based [RAID] is the future, and hardware RAID is going the way of the hardware modem."

RAIDCore is a pure software implementation that takes advantage of today's high performance servers rather than the specialized hardware acceleration engines that are used in external RAID systems.

Ciprico still has a stake in the technology, as it will get 6.67 percent of RAIDCore revenue, up to $2 million, over the next 42 months. Also, RAIDCore technology is designed into other Ciprico products.

Meanwhile, Ciprico's troubles are not over. It shrank from 44 employees before bankruptcy to just 12, and Merrifield said everything is on the table, including additional Ciprico assets, to help the company restructure.

Merrifield said the advantages of RAIDCore, including massive energy cost savings, will drive OEMs to software-driven RAID, especially as chipsets increase power. "I think it's close," he said. "It's just unfortunate that Ciprico didn't have the ability to finish the task."