News Analysis

HP acquires clustered file system software maker PolyServe

Jo Maitland, Senior News Director
Hewlett Packard Co. (HP) today announced its intent to acquire PolyServe Inc., a provider of clustered file system software. According to sources, the purcahse price is approximately $200 million.

The acquisition tops off a two-year OEM deal for HP, which has been selling PolyServe's software bundled with HP servers under the moniker Enterprise File Services Clustered Gateway. HP just announced an update to the software to support block, as well file storage, dubbed HP StorageWorks EVA File Services. The software will will be bundled with HP storage area network (SAN) array and is expected to ship in March.

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PolyServe's software is bundled with HP ProLiant servers and HP storage arrays to consolidate and virtualize network attached storage (NAS) in Linux or Windows environments. With the software, information from file or database servers can be consolidated into a single, shared pool of storage. PolyServe's forte is the Windows environment, and its SQL Server implementation has good traction in the industry, according to analysts, and provides HP with an important solution sale.

"This company was IPO material within a matter of months," said Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst with the Taneja Group. "HP has built a good business around this cluster file system, and it was only a matter of time before they acquired the company."

Taneja said the deal enables HP to compete against Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) with its GX product and against EMC Corp. via its reseller arrangement with IBrix Inc. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) resells NAS hardware from BlueArc Inc., which just announced a four-node cluster configuration that supports a 512 TB single namespace. The only company not making much noise in this space is Sun Microsystems Inc.

Although HP is expected to make more software acquisitions in the near future, another analyst, who requested anonymity, nixed the rumor heard this week that HP might acquire Symantec Corp. "Mark Hurd [HP's CEO] is basically saying not to expect very large transactions, which would imply this deal is very unlikely to happen," he noted in an email.

Founded in 1999, PolyServe is headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., has 117 employees and approximately 500 customers. The transaction is expected to be completed within 60 days. Following completion, the business will be integrated into the StorageWorks division in HP's Technology Solutions Group.


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