Tech Industry

Tool builds network without server

MangoSoft debuts "pooling" software for building a network of computers that can share files without a central server.

LAS VEGAS--What if you could engineer a network that could essentially balance the load of files across several machines in a layout that does not require a central server?

Today, MangoSoft, a privately-held firm based in Westborough, Massachusetts, will introduce a version of its software tool that accomplishes this task running on Microsoft's Windows NT.

The software, called Medley, essentially allows numerous Windows 95, Windows NT Workstations, and even Windows NT Servers, to pool resources using disk space on each machine. Users can enter files residing on a different machine as if they were entering them on a local drive. The software tool supports up to 25 clients and follows some of the principles of previous peer-to-peer operating system methods, though it only acts as a middleware layer within a Microsoft desktop.

Steve Frank, president and CEO of Mango, said the functions of the software essentially allow small businesses and workgroups within larger sites to work in a cluster-style environment without the need to know the intricacies of how it works. Frank, who previously worked with a firm that specialized in high-end parallel processing, calls the technology "pooling."

Frank said the system essentially is administration-free since the software automatically sends files to a drive with disk space if a particular machine is full. The files appear as a new "M" drive within a Microsoft-based desktop.

The Windows NT version, like the Medley software for Windows 95, will be offered for a $249 list price for a two-client license, with additional licenses sold in packs or for $199 each. The Windows NT Server edition will ship before the end of the year for a list price of $695. The software is sold through retailers and resellers.

The company will also announce an OEM arrangement with Linksys under which the low-end networking firm will bundle a two-client copy of Medley 97 with every network starter kit they sell.