PolyServe Finds a Way to Work with Both Linux and WindowsBy Peter Galli | Posted 2006-07-17 Email Print
The company initially developed a product for Linux, but soon realized that offering the same solution on Windows as well was the way to go.
Editor's Note: This is the last in a series of articles that examines Microsoft's strategy of gaining market share and driving new solutions to market through its partner base.
BOSTONThere can be enormous advantages for a company to build a product for Linux while also partnering with Microsoft, but there are also huge development challenges associated with working on two such different platforms.
Oregon-based PolyServe is a company that did just that with its commercial Matrix Server clustering technology, which powers its Database Utility and File Serving Utility solutions.
Michael Callahan, the chief technology officer at PolyServe, told eWEEK in an interview at the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here that the company, which was started in 2000, had decided to develop Matrix Server for the Linux platform.
Matrix Server for Linux was released in 2002, but was designed for enterprise customers, of which there were few at that time.
"We got started on Linux as the kernel source code was accessible, was driven by the open-source community development model, and that all made it easy for us to get started," Callahan said.
But the company initially struggled to find enterprise customers, even though it now has a "thriving Linux business. The reasons for starting development on that platform were purely technical, and so we realized that if we could have the same product on Windows, that would be good for the company," he said.
As such, PolyServe approached Microsoft in 2002 about this, but was concerned that the Redmond software maker might not want software that interacted deeply with the Windows operating system, the way Matrix Server would.
"Much to our surprise, Microsoft was really receptive to the idea, and even cautioned us how hard it would be to do technically. They also pointed out certain APIs [Application Programming Interfaces] that we would need to use and even referred us to some former Microsoft staff who had left the company but were looking for the next exciting thing," he said.
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