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Data migration start-up AutoVirt doesn't live to see 2012

Posted by Scott Kirsner  January 2, 2012 02:30 PM

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AutoVirt, a Nashua start-up that sought to simplify the process of "migrating" corporate data from one storage system to another, closed its doors in December. Employee résumés have started circulating, founder Klavs Landberg is searching for his next gig, and the company is seeking to sell its intellectual property.

AutoVirt once had 40 employees, and raised just over $24 about $20 million from local venture capital firms Sigma Partners and Kepha Partners. (Landberg says the $24 million figure was overstated.) The start-up's CEO, Josh Klein, departed in November. Vice president of engineering Caesar Naples left around the same time.

The company developed software to assess and analyze the data stored on Windows-based file servers and network-attached storage hardware, and move it around as necessary. Files used regularly might sit on more expensive solid-state hard drives, while files accessed only occasionally could be shifted to less-expensive storage media. AutoVirt was founded in 2007, and it launched a reseller program last fall.

"Unfortunately, the company is unwinding," confirms Jo Tango, founder of Kepha Partners and a board member at AutoVirt. "They made some good progress, but the market didn't develop for them."

Storage industry analyst Steve Duplessie first mentioned AutoVirt's demise on Twitter earlier today. Duplessie explains that AutoVirt was "a classic example of a great solution to a non-problem — a nice-to-have versus a need-to-have. People spend money on need-to-have, not nice-to-have." Duplessie, founder of analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group, says that most IT groups are content to shuffle data around manually, even if it is more time-consuming. Besides, he adds, "Windows IT administrators can't justify their jobs" if their company decided to purchase the AutoVirt software.

AutoVirt's phone system wasn't working when I tried to get in touch earlier today.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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