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Storage Vet Dances the Xambala

A stealthy startup specializing in XML processing has attracted a CEO from a big storage networking company, in a move that highlights the linkages between storage and other areas of IT data processing and management.

Xambala Inc., which is working on something called a "semantic processor" chip, announced today that its new chief is Mike Knudsen, a former QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) vice president who resigned from that company in April.

Prior to QLogic, Knudsen was VP and GM of network products at Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502), and VP of sales and marketing at Digi International.

At Xambala, Knudsen replaces Samba Murthy, the startup's founder and a veteran of the network processor heyday circa 1999. Murthy remains with Xambala as chief operating officer, overseeing the company's U.S. and India operations.

Knudsen joined QLogic in September 2001 as VP and GM of its computer systems group and took over as VP/GM of the network storage group the following May (see QLogic Expands Management Team and Senior QLogic Exec Resigns). As head of the network storage group, Knudsen was responsible for QLogic’s enterprise HBA and switch products, and its iSCSI strategy.

A Qlogic official says Knudsen wasn't replaced at the company; instead, the two execs he oversaw, Roger Klein and Steve Carter, continue as VPs in charge of the company's HBA and switch businesses, respectively.

Knudsen's new job tosses him into telecom's XML craze, which isn't unrelated to storage. Chip and equipment vendors are keen on the idea of processing XML messages in their native format, rather than breaking open packets to perform IP forwarding -- a task that could be required in a storage or content-management device as well as a router. That's led to a new crop of startups that includes Xambala and systems vendor Sonoa Systems Inc. (See Telecom Startups Play in XML, Raj Singh Resurfaces, and Intel Absorbs XML Startup.)

Xambala goes beyond XML in its focus on upper-layer processing. Given its claims, the company's semantic processor would handle a number of application languages natively. Xambala officials aren't elaborating on the technology yet, nor have they disclosed the number of employees at the firm or funding details. A spokeswoman won't even disclose whether the product is sampling.

Xambala intends to work with multiple application languages, but looking at just the XML front, it faces potential competition from XML-chip vendor Tarari Inc. Also in the mix is Sarvega, which is being acquired by , a company that (interestingly enough) once invested in Tarari (see Intel Absorbs XML Startup and Intel Spinoff Targets XML, Viruses).

On the systems side, DataPower Technology Inc. has been in the XML processing business for some time, while startups Solace Systems Inc. and Sonoa are emerging as potential challengers.

The whole language-processing concept could play a role in 's (Nasdaq: CSCO) Application-Oriented Networking (AON) technology, announced in June. Cisco's aim there is to imbue the network with an awareness of application messages, hopefully giving enterprises greater control over how their IT processes traverse the network (see Cisco Speaks Applications).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:00:38 AM
re: Storage Vet Dances the Xambala Anyone heard of a similar effort before? This seems like the kind of idea someone would have tried already, somewhere back in the annals of microprocessing...
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