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PolyServe Hits the Comeback Trail

"New" can be a relative term in the startup world. PolyServe, which is set to unveil its SAN file system software at the Storage Decisions conference in Chicago this week, has been knocking around since 1998.

Its not surprising then that a good chunk of its "new" file system technology is in fact the third generation of its software.

Taking it from the top (perhaps that should be the bottom), PolyServe introduced its failover software for servers, dubbed Understudy, in early 2000. This product evolved into LocalCluster as it added support for more servers and gained replication features. After a subsequent rebranding effort, it emerged as the PolyServe Application Manager, which in turn has become a feature of the "new" software, PolyServe Matrix Server, the product being launched at the conference in Chicago. Got it?

We think we have. Essentially, what's new in PolyServe’s host-based software is the capability to allow "dozens" of servers to have concurrent read and write access to shared data on a SAN.

This is an improvement over traditional network file systems like those from Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), which only do file-level data sharing. Although these devices can read data on a SAN, they don’t allow concurrent write access to it. This requires complex distributed lock management software, which prevents multiple servers from updating the same data at the same time, causing corruption.

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