Tricord Systems, a former player in the server market almost brought to its knees by industry giants, has set its sites on the storage market. And to do so, the vendor is courting OEMs to embed its I/O software in their Windows NT networking hardware, and resellers to market it.
According to analysts, Tricord's travails - marked by a steady decline in revenues from 1994 to 1997 - are not unusual in the highly competitive server market.
"As other vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Digital, Compaq, and Dell really started to take market share, [smaller vendors] weren't able to fight back," said Greg Garry, a senior analyst at Dataquest.
Tricord was not on the list of leaders, and the company admits it was unsuccessful in finding a strategic partner in 1996. As the heavyweights absorbed smaller server companies, Tricord recognised it was being left out.
"It was a continuing struggle to differentiate ourselves in the hardware business," said Cory Devor, vice president of business development at Tricord. With sales fading, Tricord chose to retreat from the server market. "It was scramble time," he said, referring to the company's moment of truth when it re-evaluated itself last year.
The company downsized from almost 200 to 50 employees and closed its 13 US and two international satellite offices.
Tricord acquired Reliable Distributed Information (RDI) in October last year. The porting of RDI's distributed-file-system technology was originally intended to fortify Tricord's servers. It is now the company's best hope for the future.