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PolyServe Brings Modular Computing to Windows

By Dan Muse (Send Email)
Posted May 25, 2004


Windows server sprawl got you down? You aren't alone, according PolyServe. The Beaverton, Ore.-based maker of clustering software reports that storage and server sprawl plagues Windows data centers, leaving IT departments with hard-to-manage, often under-utilized servers and silos of storage. While the company has offered Linux clustering software, yesterday at the Microsoft Tech-Ed 2004 conference in San Diego, PolyServe announced Matrix Server for Microsoft Windows 2000 and 2003 operating systems.

PolyServe's technology, which allows enterprises to harness the power of many servers and deploy and manage them as a single entity, goes by many names. "Some people call it grid computing, some call it utility computing, some call it modular computing," said Steven Norall, director of marketing at PolyServe. Regardless of what label you give it, the company's technology allows "many small, cheap servers to act as one." Norall said that Matrix Server is only Windows software to offer both data sharing and high availability.The Beaverton, Ore.-based company best-known for its Linux clustering software announced Matrix Server for Microsoft Windows 2000 and 2003 operating systems. Claims to be first to offer scalable data sharing and high availability.

Matrix Server for Windows has been in use at several Fortune 500 customers for the past two months, Norall said. The company's architecture is designed to bring to Windows data centers a clustering technology that allows IT departments to add computing power, increase storage availability and improve application performance in a scalable as-needed basis.

According to the company, early-adopter customers of Matrix Server for Windows have reduced server and storage costs by up to 50 percent and increased availability for mission-critical applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database 10g and 10g Real Application Clusters databases as well as benefitted from more efficient file and print serving and Web content serving.

Matrix Server's Custer File System, which Norall describes as PolyServe's "secret sauce," allows you to mix up to 16 2-way or 4-way servers (although 2-ways are ideal, he added). Enterprises can build scalable clusters of Windows-based servers that concurrently read and write to shared data on a storage area network (SAN).

In addition to making Windows servers more highly available and centrally managed, Matrix Server is also designed to add fault tolerance across the network, because any server can take over for another in the event of a failure. You can also add servers and storage without disturbing the cluster, which Norall said lets you build your network on pay-as-you-go basis.

PolyServe reported that solutions packs are available for SQL Server consolidation, file and print consolidation, Web content consolidation and Oracle9i and 10g RAC manageability. Pricing for Matrix server starts at $1,500 per CPU.

PolyServe also announced that it has expanded its alliance with HP to include IT consolidation initiatives in the Windows data center. The company's existing relationship with HP includes an alliance involving the PolyServe Matrix Server for Linux. PolyServe is also part of HP Adaptive Enterprise as well as a member of the HP Blade Alliance Program.

HP will offer file server consolidation and SQL server consolidation based on PolyServe Matrix Server for Windows. Using ProLiant servers and StorageWorks systems, according to PolyServe, HP has validated how PolyServe Matrix Server for Windows will help meet the business and technical needs of customers who plan to consolidate Windows-based platforms.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel and EarthWeb's Networking & Communications Channel.

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