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Crosswalk Flips to File Side

Crosswalk has taken a new path.

When it first launched in 2004, the vendor combined storage resource management with reporting and monitoring for smaller enterprises. (See Crosswalk.) And while it will continue to sell its original Crosswalk Storage Manager (CSM) software, the company is remaking itself into a clustered file-system vendor with today's launch of its new iGrid product. (See Crosswalk 'Realigns'.)

The system runs on nodes consisting of industry standard hardware, with an eye toward creating a single view of storage spread across multiple volumes and servers. "We put all storage into a single pool seen by all clients simultaneously," says CEO Jack McDonnell.

Crosswalk is aiming iGrid first at high-performance computing (HPC) environments, primarily research labs. The concept isn't new; a host of vendors, including ExaGrid, Exanet, Ibrix, Isilon, Panasas, and PolyServe have similar products aimed at making NAS more manageable. Some have already pierced the HPC market. (See Special Report: NAS Clustering and Virtualization and Cluster Clamor.) Network Appliance is also getting ready to jump in with cluster technology acquired from Spinnaker. (See NetApp Nudges Closer to New OS.)

But iGrid is certainly a far cry from Crosswalk's original offering, which merged software licensed from other vendors into Crosswalk's management console. And it's new for McDonnell, the McData founder who funded Crosswalk after stepping down as chairman of the switch vendor in early 2004. (See Jack McDonnell, Chairman & CEO, Crosswalk.) According to McDonnell, Crosswalk developers have been quietly working on iGrid since the start.

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