It took him awhile, but Eric Kelly is running the Snap Appliance business again.
Kelly today became CEO of Overland Storage, which acquired the Snap business from Adaptec last June. He replaces Vern LoForti, who remains at Overland as president.
Kelly has a long history with Snap. He put together a group of investors to buy Snap from Quantum for $10 million in 2002 and served as its CEO until selling it to Adaptec for $100.4 million in 2004. Kelly worked as GM of Adaptec’s storage business for two years and when Adaptec put the Snap business up for sale, there were rumblings in the storage industry that Kelly tried to put together a group to buy it back. That didn’t work out, but he joined Overland’s board in late 2007 and strongly recommended Overland buy the Snap business.
When that deal was completed, LoForti said Kelly told the Overland board, ‘”If you don’t want [Snap], I’ll buy it myself.”
Kelly told SearchStorage.com today he’s looking forward to working again with other members of the Snap team who remain from his CEO days.
“Some of the same team is here,” he said. “I think we do have a little advantage in terms of understanding what our customers are looking for, and how we position the product and grow the business.”
So with Overland trying to go from a tape vendor to a storage systems company built around its new NAS products, Kelly seems like the right guy for the job. LoForti has done his best to revitalize Overland after moving CFO to CEO of the troubled company in 2007, but had to spend much of his time looking for financing to keep it afloat.
Overland raised $9 million in financing last Decmeber to keep the doors open but will need to reverse its long history of losing money if it is to survive. The vendor last week said it would reduce its workforce by 17% by cutting 53 employees and slashed the salaries of executives and other salaried employees by 10%. That followed previous layoffs totaling 64 employees since last August.
Kelly said Overland will seek more funding and will obviously strive to become profitable as soon as possible. Overland’s strategy will be to provide end to end data protection across disk and tape, which involves leveraging Snap’s software with Overland’s other platforms.
LoForti says because the Snap Guardian OS and the OS for Overland’s REO disk appliances are based on the same Linux kernel, it won’t be difficult to integrate the product lines.
“When you sell and appliance, people look at the hardware, but our value is in the software,” Kelly said.