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Startup Touts Massively Scaleable File Storage

A tiny Cupertino, Calif., startup is launching network file virtualization on a grand scale with open-source software and standard x86 hardware.

Parascale boasts three beta customers for a file system called the Virtual Storage Network (VSN), which uses Linux-based servers to create a massive "file grid" comprising one virtual file system -- or more, depending on the application.

A typical VSN, execs say, comprises 16 to 32 storage nodes managed by one control node. Nodes consist of individual Linux file servers and SATA storage from the likes of Dell, HP, or IBM. Parascale VSN "file grids" can support multiple Pbytes, the vendor says. Management software ensures load balancing, automatic file migration, and automatic replication among all nodes.

Parascale's VSN is set for general availability in November. Pricing will be on a subscription basis and range from about $300 to $700 per spindle annually, depending on options.

The value proposition is clear: reliable high-volume storage without specialized hardware, something Parascale says is particularly in demand among companies with a lot of rich media content. Indeed, Parascale's gunning for customers who'd otherwise use clustered NAS la Isilon and others. It's also pitching against high-end clusters and emerging services from the likes of Amazon and emerging storage service providers.

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