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Newcomer has long history in IT

After a year in operation, HighVail Systems makes this year's list of top solution providersrn

Cracking CDN’s Top 100 VARs list for the first time is this year’s newcomer HighVail Systems at number 98.

Established in 2003, the Toronto-based firm focuses on storage, networking, clusters and Linux/Unix solutions. Premier partners include Hitachi Data Systems, Brocade, Cisco Systems, StorageTek,

Sun Microsystems and Veritas.

HighVail was founded by some of the original members of CoreLan Communications Inc., which started up in 1989.

These include Steve Webster, who established CoreLan, Glen MacDonald, who joined Webster around nine years ago as a technical resource within the company, and Bradley Brodkin, who joined two years ago when it was Symcor Technology Solutions (STS). All three partners have individually been in the technology consulting business for about 20 years.

Going to the wall

CoreLan started up as a company that built data networks. “”Steve literally pulled wires through walls. That’s where he got his start in the industry,”” recalled Brodkin.

CoreLan developed a Bay Street client base., replacing Pyramid systems with Unix solutions, primarily based on Sun Microsystems’ Solaris platform.

Webster built a network hub that all of the mutual fund companies across Canada could communicate through and wrote an application for it.

As a result of that project, CoreLan built up its developer base and wrote numerous applications, the majority of which ran on Sun platforms.

At one point, said Brodkin, CoreLan was the premier partner for Sun Services in Canada.

Webster and his partner sold CoreLan to Optus eBusiness Solutions in the late 90s. Under the deal, CoreLan became a division of Optus.

In 2000, Optus was bought out by Symcor, which created a division within the company called STS.

After the bubble burst

Under Webster’s role as president, STS operated for about two-and-a-half years after the acquisition.

“”The three of us worked very closely together (at STS) along with other individuals within the organization to go out and develop business,”” said Brodkin, who originally hails from Montreal. He moved to Toronto six-and-a-half years ago with another reseller.

Three years later, Symcor decided to cut STS out of the picture as it was not core to its business, said Brodkin. “”They just basically wanted to close it down.””

Symcor told CoreLan to take the business and do what it wanted with it. Brodkin, who, at the time, had only been with the company for several months and had given up an opportunity at another reseller, was put in charge of that decision.

“”I rallied both Glen and Steve together and said let’s do this,”” he said.

“”We created HighVail as a result of that.””