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HP pays for PolyServe while IBM and Dell watch

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Longtime acquisition suspect PolyServe has been eaten by HP.

HP today picked up the Oregon-based software maker for an undisclosed sum. Should the deal close as expected in the next months, PolyServe's products and staff will be tucked into HP's StorageWorks division. This acquisition builds on a long-term partnership between the two companies.

PolyServe has specialized in improving the way server and storage software runs on clusters of Intel- and AMD-based systems. The 120-person operation used to spend most of its time hawking a clustered file system for Oracle and later DB2. More recently, however, it has been hawking file serving and clustering software for network attached storage systems where it claims a performance and uptime lead over rivals.

Along with HP, PolyServe calls Microsoft, Red Hat, IBM and Dell "strategic partners". Such ties turned the start-up into an obvious acquisition candidate for any Tier 1 vendor feeling the clustering and virtualization vibe. (It actually looked like PolyServe might be swallowed in 2004 - right after Red Hat bought rival Sistina for $30m.)

HP has made no secrets about its technology interests in both of those areas or about its plans to buy system management software makers as needed.

Proving it has the requisite rhetoric down, HP noted, "With the (PolyServe) software, information from file or database servers can be consolidated into a single, shared pool of storage that is highly available and can scale to match business demands."

In 2001, 2002 and 2003, PolyServe received a ton of press and seemed like it could be the next big thing. Since then, it has operated a bit under the radar, spending more time refining its technology rather than hyping it.

Overall, this deal makes plenty of sense for HP as it tries to make more money off software and attempts to offer something different from the likes of IBM and Dell. ®

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