(Nasdaq: MSFT) this week offered analysts a first preview peak at its hush-hush, next-generation, file storage system, named Farsite. Reaction was muted and mixed.
The Microsofties have been quietly working on Farsite for the past two
years -- claiming it will withstand the most severe earthquakes and might
eventually become the largest storage network in the world.
Yeah right! And Bill Gates is a really nice man, said one analyst who
witnessed the first demonstration of the system at Microsofts headquarters
in Redmond, Wash., this week. (Irony is popular in the Northwest.)
Farsite (the acronym awkwardly stands for Federated, Available, and Reliable Storage
for an Incompletely Trusted Environment) aims to store replicas of files on
multiple machines, enabling companies to save on having to buy hundreds
of disks and servers.
Essentially, it is a piece of Microsoft software (start praying) that
provides the functionality of a central file server, but without the need to purchase, install, manage, and maintain a central
server machine. Instead, a group of desktop client computers running the
software collaboratively establish a virtual file server that can be
accessed by any of the clients. Microsoft says storing the data on many
networked PCs increases reliability -- and cuts costs.