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Ibrix Touts Monster System

In a move that highlights an increasingly competitive niche, Ibrix Inc., a four-year-old Massachusetts startup, has officially announced a file system it claims has more capacity and compatibility than competing wares.

Ibrix, whose 50-odd employees are based in Billerica, says its Fusion file system supports up to 16 petabytes of storage across a range of I/O servers with SAN, NAS, or DAS storage attachments. Designed specifically for high-performance clusters, such as those in science labs, Fusion applies a single file system and a global namespace to applications across a range of systems.

It's not a new concept. A growing roster of software and hardware players are tackling the issue of application performance in storage networks and computing clusters. On the software side, players include IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), PolyServe Inc., Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT), and Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS). Hardware vendors include Isilon Systems and Panasas Inc., to name just two.

These and other vendors say a key issue facing storage networkers is how to avoid bottlenecks that result when multiple systems are used as a single block of computing power. Old-fashioned methods, such as the Unix-based Network File System (NFS) approach, are falling down on the job.

"We were doing standard NFS mounting to all of our nodes. The problem was that we took a huge performance hit as multiple nodes were accessing and writing to the same nodes at the same time," says Tom Minyard, manager and research associate for High Performance Computing at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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