Overland Storage Unveils New Data-Storage Initiative

1/22/09Follow @bvbigelow

After slashing 17 percent of its workforce and making other cutbacks, San Diego’s Overland Storage (NASDAQ: OVRL) announced today what CEO Vern LoForti describes as a significant initiative in the company’s turnaround effort.

The longtime maker of data storage equipment has been reeling since 2005, when Hewlett-Packard said it was phasing out purchases of tape-based storage equipment that Overland made under HP’s brand name. Overland makes a variety of tape and disk-based data storage equipment, but its business continued to erode.

Now LoForti, who has been trying to turn around Overland as CEO since 2007, is announcing the creation of “a solutions engineering group” that will work with partners to develop and integrate “end-to-end” data storage systems for its customers. The move follows a $9 million financing in December and a restructuring last week that reduced Overland’s workforce by 53 employees, or 17 percent, to a total staff of 275. (An update to the Xconomy San Diego layoff tracker is here.) The company also implemented a 10 percent pay cut for all salaried employees, including LoForti and other executives.

“This new strategy fits right in to this restructuring at Overland, where we’re leaner and meaner,” LoForti says. The company plans to use its partnerships with Mobotix Vision Systems, which makes video surveillance and Internet-based archiving systems, and with a software developer to provide “plug and play” data storage systems for its customers. Using partnerships to develop such systems “means we don’t have this huge R&D cost” LoForti says.

Overland intends to provide its systems to meet customers’ data archiving and business continuity needs, and for Internet-based “network video recorder” systems. Ravi Pendekanti, Overland’s vice president of worldwide sales and marketing, is particularly encouraged by the booming demand for video surveillance technology. “What most people want,” Pendekanti says, “is to store their surveillance data—but to be able to retrieve the video in the event something happens, whether it’s a slip and fall on company property or a terrorist act.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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