Hewlett-Packard broadened its plans in the NAS market this week when the company announced it has inked a deal to acquire OEM partner and clustered file system vendor PolyServe. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

HP entered into an OEM partnership with PolyServe in 2005 and has been selling PolyServe’s technology with the StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateway, a midrange NAS gateway comprised of a ProLiant Storage Server and Clustered File System software and the StorageWorks EVA-File Services (EVA FS), a virtualization package that serves both block and file data.

HP has made inroads in the entry-level NAS market over the past few years, but the company has its sights set on bigger customers. Bob Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s StorageWorks Division, says the acquisition provides a strong entry point for HP into the growing enterprise NAS market and will also allow the company to extend its NAS technology to blade servers.

“PolyServe’s technology will help accelerate HP’s growth and complement our StorageWorks, ProLiant, and BladeSystem businesses,” says Schultz.

PolyServe’s Utilities for Databases and File Serving software works with industry-standard hardware to consolidate and virtualize 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. The software also provides a single system image that enables administrators to manage all nodes in a cluster as if they were one system.

However, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Garrett doubts that the PolyServe acquisition will result in many changes to HP’s NAS product line.

“In my opinion, the PolyServe deal doesn’t significantly change HP’s presence or offerings in the NAS market,” says Garrett. “They already OEM PolyServe software for servers in the mid-market, and at the high end they lead with the Scalable File Share [SFS] product.”

Garrett says PolyServe-enabled NAS systems could theoretically encroach on SFS over time, but that the software is currently lacking some “table-stake, high-end NAS features” and it has a file system size limit of 16TB. “Taken together with the fact that HP has a lot invested in [SFS], I doubt that the PolyServe deal will significantly change the HP NAS product lineup in the near future,” says Garrett.

The acquisition is expected to be completed within about 60 days. Following finalization of the deal, PolyServe will become part of the StorageWorks division in HP’s Technology Solutions Group.

PolyServe touts a list of partners, including Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, and others, but HP declined to comment on whether those relationships will live on once the acquisition is completed.

Beaverton, Oregon-based PolyServe is a private company with approximately 117 employees and 500 customers.

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