Liquid Computing: Fast out of the starting gate

Company: Liquid Computing Liquid IQ 15-1 Fast out of the starting gate, but may have trouble staying with the big boys down the back stretch

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When Cisco unveiled its Unified Computing System in February, the news had some perhaps unintended consequences. It lent legitimacy to a group of small specialty vendors offering unified data center platforms.

One such company is Liquid Computing, which offers a "data center in a box" blade system it calls LiquidIQ. In this converged system, server, network, storage and operating system, and associated physical and virtual connections, are represented as logical components manageable via a LiquidIQ interface or through existing management systems, the company says.

Liquid Computing, which formed in 2003, has built up an ecosystem of partners around its technology. For example, LiquidIQ supports Microsoft Windows Server 2008, the Hyper-V hypervisor and Microsoft System Center management capabilities. Other partners include VMware, Oracle, NetApp and Novell, for enterprise Linux support.

Liquid Computing has a first-mover advantage with its unified data center concept, having had time to build up a multisourcing capability and community effort around its core technology. Those are must-haves for any start-up pushing against legacy vendors, says George Weiss, a vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner.

However, now that big, established players such as Cisco and HP are racing ahead with unified fabric architectures, Liquid Computing and others of its ilk may have trouble in the enterprise, Weiss suggests. "Some data centers won't take the risk on the longevity and survivability of a start-up," he says.

Liquid Computing updated LiquidIQ with a 3.0 release in March. This version uses Intel's newly released Nehalem multicore processors, developed to run applications on virtual servers more efficiently.

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