VA Linux woos top programmer

VA Linux Systems lures a prominent programmer away from rival Linuxcare, while releasing a new higher-capacity storage server.

Stephen Shankland
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VA Linux Systems has lured a prominent programmer away from rival Linuxcare, while releasing a new higher-capacity storage server.

VA hired Andrew Tridgell, one of the lead programmers creating the Samba software that lets a Linux computer share files on a Windows network. The software is a key part of products from VA and numerous other companies trying to grab a share of the money spent on special-purpose storage devices such as NAS (network-attached storage) machines.

At VA, Tridgell joins Jeremy Allison, another top Samba programmer, who has done stints at high-end hardware maker SGI and Cygnus Solutions, now a part of Linux company Red Hat.

Troubled Linuxcare merged with Turbolinux in February. Caldera Systems lured another Samba guru, John Terpstra, from Turbolinux in November.

Tridgell and Allison are members of VA's NAS team, the company said. NAS products are special-purpose servers that add new data storage capacity to an ordinary network. The leader in the market is Network Appliance.

VA's new NAS system, the 9450, is a 7-inch thick module that has as many as four Pentium III Xeon CPUs. Connecting other storage enclosures can expand the system to a 45.5-inch thick module with 6.6 terabytes of capacity.

A basic 180GB system costs about $30,000, but most customers are gravitating toward systems with 1.5 to 2 terabytes, said Cheryl Sindelar, marketing manager for the product. A popular 1.9-terabyte configuration costs $116,000, she said.

VA also lowered the price on the earlier-generation 9205 NAS system, Sindelar said.