Local enterprises Moonwalk data management

Open file management system spurs innovation

Several organizations have adopted a new type of data management software specifically engineered to tackle the ever growing problem of unstructured files located across disparate systems.

Brisbane-based Moonwalk has developed software to manage files across the enterprise without using databases or other middleware.

The company now counts Hutchison Telecommunications, the NSW Department of Commerce, Bank of Queensland, QLD Transport, and CCSU NSW among its local enterprise customers.

Moonwalk CEO Peter Harvey said a background in supercomputing and signal processing led him to take a fresh look at managing data with modern technology.

"We remove a lot of the overhead, and performance is dictated by the bandwidth of the network and speed of the device," Harvey said, adding the concept is an abstract system of data management with no single point of failure.

After initial venture funding from Dialogue, Moonwalk established its R&D operations in Brisbane and opened a sales office in California. The first formal product was released in March this year.

"The head office is in Australia and all R&D is done in Australia and will stay in Australia," Harvey said. "You can grow organically from Australia but the IT world is driven out of the US. And it's a big market for what we are doing so it's a survival thing."

With five people in R&D and 15 in total, Moonwalk now claims 27 customers globally across the aerospace, banking, government, and education sectors.

At the Bank of Queensland, there was a need to store and manage a lot of data and for researchers to be able to retrieve it regardless of its location.

The bank deployed Moonwalk agent-based software alongside existing storage infrastructure so the workload will be distributed to eliminate bottlenecks.

Moonwalk's agent runs on Windows, NetWare, and SUSE Linux, and purports to be "light" and doesn't require systems to be rebooted after installation.

Being a generic data management tool at the file system level, Harvey said customers are using Moonwalk for innovative ways to perform backups, disaster recovery, ILM, and archiving.

"We have a management console, which is a Java application, and the policies are created and deployed to the agents across the network," Harvey said. "We use the network as our backplane."

Harvey said the rules engine is very powerful and the software architecture "allows you to do anything with files".

Moonwalk has raised "a few million" in funding and sells its software from $US5000 per server.

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Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
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