Sepaton has announced its S2100 virtual tape library, a RAID-based appliance that can store 200TB at up to 1.6TB/hour. It is the first of a family of 'solutions' which address, Sepaton claims, 'the entire lifecycle of stored information'. But customers better be aware that it is the only product, that it has just exited beta testing and that Sepaton has only existed, as such, for a couple of months.

Up until the autumn it was called SANgate Systems and had developed, or tried to develop, several products that moved data around in a Fibre Channel SAN environment. None appear to have sold at all.

SANgate was/is a startup, founded in the USA in May 1999, to develop SAN data moving products. After two CEOs came and went the third CEO, Patrick Courtin, led the company to unveil its SANblaster S1000 in July 2002 as a data migration and virtualisation appliance within a SAN environment. The company was also then working on a mainframe version.

The effort collapsed. Times became so tough that it laid off 22 of its 26 engineers in Israel and abandoned the mainframe-focused product. It reduced its headcount to 21 engineers and re-trenched as it became clear that virtualisation boxes were becoming commodities.

More investment money came from its venture capital funders and it refocussed on the virtual tape market. It developed virtual tape library software and added this to its hardware box, the S1000.

A fifth CEO, Mike Worhach, replaced the fourth and interim CEO, George McHorney, in September of this year. He was previously president of Auspex, the NAS vendor which went bankrupt a few months ago. Under Worhach's control the company renamed itself Sepaton, which is 'no tapes' written backwards.

Although other companies sell virtual tape libraries, and have been for some little while, Sepaton says its product is the only one that can emulate multiple libraries simultaneously.

So now, aproximately four products and five CEOs after startup, it has a sellable product. It works with most popular backup applications and, no doubt, the company's fingers are firmly crossed that, this time, the engineers and marketing folks have got it right, contrary to their track record.