Acquisition to provide Sun with Lustre file system

Set to purchase assets of Cluster File Systems for undisclosed sum

Sun Microsystems Wednesday agreed to purchase most of Cluster File Systems' business assets and intellectual property, including the Lustre file system, an open-source software distribution tool.

Terms of the deal, expected to close on Oct. 1, were not disclosed.

In a statement, Sun said that it plans to port the Lustre file system to Solaris and to step up efforts to augment Lustre on the Linux-based systems of multiple vendors. When contacted, Sun officials refused to elaborate on their plans for the technology.

Sun and Cluster File Systems in July had agreed to jointly integrate Lustre and the OpenSolaris ZFS file system.

The Lustre file system is typically used to power large-scale server applications running in high-performance computing environments, because of its ability to support massive amounts of storage capacity and server clusters without severe performance impact.

The acquisition comes amid questions surrounding Sun's legal ownership of the ZFS, which emerged last week when Network Appliance Inc. contended in a lawsuit that the technology infringes on patents it owns. The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Lufkin, Texas.

Earlier this year, Sun donated its ZFS code to the open-source community. That effort prompted analysts to fear that the Network Appliance lawsuit could have a far-reaching effect -- potentially adverse -- on the future of open-source technology.

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Brian Fonseca

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