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Acinion Super-Sizes Video Servers

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News Analysis
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2/6/2007
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Blackwave Inc. says the media world needs a new kind of server to make high-definition Internet video a reality. So the startup aims to launch just such a box later this year.

Acinion CEO Bob Rizika says, "If you look at the big companies, they're all saying... 'We're going to full production, so we actually care about the cost and income of delivering Internet video.' "

Acinion says it can help cut the cost of delivering HD video over the Internet, but it won't say exactly how.

We sort of got an explanation from investor Jonathan Seelig, managing director at Globespan Capital Partners : "The idea is radically rearchitecting the storage and the server -- both the back-end source and the streaming heads that connect to that storage -- and really thinking about that architecture in a new way." Oh. Thanks.

Acinion's Ruzika says the server technology his product replaces includes older, enterprise servers such as those made by NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP). He says that technology is fine for small chunks of text-based data (like billing receipts or airline reservations), but not for video.

Also, Acinion is a replacement for the server clustering method championed by Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Those companies tend to buy inexpensive off-the-shelf servers and string them together with proprietary video storage, delivery systems, and software.

Ruzika says the cost for delivering video has to go down. Content delivery networks are streaming at 700 kbit/s today, he says, and as more HD content becomes available, people will demand stream rates as high as 1.5 Mbit/s.

When the bill comes, content owners might be shocked. "People are going to have to send three to four times the amount of information, but what they'll get paid for [the content] isn't going to change," Ruzika says.

Acinion's management team includes chief strategy officer Branko Gerovac and chief technology officer David Carver, both from leadership positions at SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC). COO Larry Samberg was GM of the data switching group at Internet Photonics when the company was acquired by Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) in 2004.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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