Virtualization

How 12 technology companies came up with their names

What's in a name? Chances are there is some sort of story behind it. IT pro Rick Vanover tells how a number of technology products got their names and the stories behind them.

Product names with technology can be created in the craftiest of ways it seems. Sometimes you look at the story behind the name of the company or product, and it makes quite a bit of sense. In other cases, it is the age old technology humor that may or may not translate well to others who don't have the passion it takes to launch a company or product. I've collected a series of companies and the stories behind the names. I also created this collection in a gallery format.

At some point in time, the popular virtualization company sought a name for their hypervisor products. To achieve this, VMware sought the assistance of a marketing firm to help create a name for the products at the time known as ESX and GSX. The names returned were Elastic Sky and Ground Storm, respectively. The X was added to make it sound technical. Needless to say, the names were not exactly well received at the time. Elastic Sky in retrospect is quite appropriate given VMware's cloud focus of modern times. The name wasn't entirely dropped, however. VMware's house band goes by the name Elastic Sky and is composed of internal talent. They've performed at VMworld and can deliver quite the show, as you can see in the video below.

Acronis

Acronis provides a number of system management products, including backup and recovery tools. Inquiring to the origin of the name, it was totally made up. Some thought was put into the first two letters, however. By selecting "A" the alphabetical list position would be favorable and enhanced by the second letter being "C". I guess we'll have to start naming with numbers and underscores now!

3PAR

3PAR delivers enterprise storage solutions with all the bells and whistles that you would expect for servers and virtualized storage. My initial suspicion was that 3PAR was some fish tale from the golf course, but instead is an acronym of the three co-founders: Robert Rogers, Ashok Singhal and Jeff Price.

Kaseya

IT service delivery tool developer Kaseya started in January of 2000, near the peak of the internet bubble economy. Back then finding any domain name that looked like an English word or started with an "i" or an "e" was impossible. After trying about 300 names, Mark Sutherland and Kaseya's founders started enlisting the help of friends and family. The brother of one of Kaseya's founding members was an old west history buff. One evening he was flipping through a section on Sioux history and stumbled on a word "Kaseya" meaning "to shield or protect" in Sioux. We originally started the company to provide tools for managing security application so it seemed like a perfect fit. Everyone Kaseya tried the name on liked it but no one could spell it correctly. So in addition to securing kaseya.com they also tried to get "kasaya." Turns out that meant umbrella in Japanese so someone has that URL and sells umbrellas online. They also tried to get "casaya." That turned out to be some guy renting condos in Spain. At least they could get kaseya.com and were definitely sick of looking for a name, so Kaseya was born.

StarWind Software

Who says you can't make a SAN on commodity hardware? StarWind Software takes any server and can make it function as a storage device. In fact, it is the tool of choice for people to learn Hyper-V. Inquiring on the origin of the name, we have to go back to the days of Rocket Division Software. Simply asking the question, where do Rockets go? Obviously, they go to Stars. Then, a little trickery comes into play, take the "OWS" out of Windows and you are left with "Wind". Since the product was primarily used initially as an iSCSI target for Windows, we do a little word math from Star and Wind (minus the "OWS"). Hence the name was born: StarWind.

Citrix

In 1989, Citrus Systems, Inc. was founded and developed the popular Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) with roots in South Florida. That gave way to a transformation in 1990 when the first logo, which is similar to today's current livery, was released as the name was restated to be a combination of Citrus and UNIX. At the time, there was a whopping 18 employees with the new Citrix. This old-school virtualization player would continue to develop new products and grow to many more offerings including Netscaler, Branch Repeater and XenServer.

VM6

Virtualization brings out the quirkiest of technology folk it seems. Canada-based VM6 Software makes virtualization solutions for the small and medium business that are built on Hyper-V. VM6 created their catchy yet simple name by simply leaning on "VM" from their virtual machines and "6" for the six original employees. VM6 today offers solutions that simplify storage, virtual machines, desktop delivery and management for the increasingly expanding Microsoft virtualization landscape.

Yellow Bricks

Yellow Bricks isn't quite a product, but instead one of the best virtualization blogs. VMware employee Duncan Epping writes this blog, and it is a great resource for virtualization professionals worldwide and holds the #1 position on the fan-voted VPad site. Duncan explains on his blog:

The name is derived from an Arctic Monkeys song, Old Yellow Bricks. Yellow Bricks are solid but flexible at the same time because you can build virtually anything. Same goes for virtualization, it provides you with a firm foundation while gaining flexibility at the same time. Yellow Bricks used as building blocks for virtualization.

Duncan selected Yellow Bricks because at first glance it had nothing to do with virtualization, and every other blog seemed to be "vThis", "vThat" or virtualSomething. Keep up the good work, Duncan!

Veeam

Again in the virtualization realm, Veeam Software makes management and data protection tools for virtualized infrastructure. Veeam's name started from a simple take on a time: 5:33 AM. By using the Roman numeral for 5, and swapping out "E"s for "3"s. The fun stuff doesn't stop there with Veeam, they have leading products for data protection and management of virtual environments. They also have a number of free products administrators can use to better manage and operate in their virtual environments.

Taking it one step further, one of the fundamental principles of Veeam is their team concept. The Veeam Team is even installed on babies of Veeam employees with the "Veeam Teeam" onesie!

Digitiliti

Information management company Digitiliti created their name on the vision of commoditization of that information.  The thought that the digital information we create daily should be as readily available as the utilities of today. It became a form of word math:  Digital + Utility = Digitiliti. Their current products continue that trend as well. DiginLIBE forms a digital library of unstructured data and DigiBAK offers a number of data protection solutions by consolidating tape, de-duplication, disk backups, virtual tape libraries, continuous data protection and more.

Nasuni

Nasuni's founders, Andres Rodriguez and Rob Mason went through a systematic and thorough approach that was based on three principles: Provisioning, Protection and Portability. The goals were to build a NAS device that unified the three. The three rings in their logo also represent those three principals. Nasuni came from a number of word combinations from the words "NAS" and "Unification". Then a thorough keyword research began as well as work to ensure that all domain names were not already taken.

Sepaton

This data protection company focuses on disk-based solutions. Sepaton is "no tapes" backwards, so don't expect to see any options to go to tape! Sepaton's solutions include backup appliances that function as virtual tape libraries (VTLs) and data de-duplication software as part of a data protection strategy.

About Rick Vanover

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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