Symantec Adds New Automation Features to Server Foundation

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2006-11-29

Symantec Adds New Automation Features to Server Foundation

Data security and storage provider Symantec continued its concerted push into the data center automation space Nov. 29 by introducing two key new features to augment its Veritas Server Foundation product-an application director and a patch manager.

Symantec, of Cupertino, Calif., also announced that it has updated both its Veritas Configuration Manager and Veritas Provisioning Manager.

Veritas Application Director enables IT to control when and where multitiered applications run across heterogeneous physical and virtual environments in order to maximize server utilization and application availability. Veritas Patch Manager adds patch management and distribution functionality to the existing operating system and application provisioning capabilities to Veritas Server Foundation.

"Symantec promised more data center automation when they announced Data Center Foundation [last May], and this product is one of several [some of which will be available in the future] that start to deliver on that promise," Dianne McAdam, director of Enterprise Information Assurance of The Clipper Group, told eWEEK.

If a data center has hundreds of applications, managing all of them can be a problem, McAdam said.

"Veritas Application Director provides one view of all of the applications managed under this product. But it takes it a step further: You can define interdependencies across different platforms," she said.

For example, picture an application that spans several platforms; it has a database that runs on Unix, but the Web servers run on Linux, McAdam said.

"Now the database server goes down, and I have to move that database application to a new server," she said. "Application Director knows that the Linux Web servers are logically connected to the database and will gracefully bring down [stop] all of the application components, move the database application to a new server and bring up all components in the right sequence."

Application Director does this in an automated way, which prevents human errors and speeds up recovery time, McAdam said.

"It can also simulate future events. Say I want to bring in one big server to replace three small servers. It has a simulation program that lets IT determine if the applications on the three smaller servers can be moved to the larger server," she said.

Next Page: More data, more applications-so more control needed.

Page 2

More and more enterprises have adopted large-scale shared architectures running complex multitier applications across thousands of physical and virtual servers, accessing terabytes of shared storage, Group President of Symantec Data Center Management Kris Hagerman told eWEEK.

To manage the growing complexity of these data centers, organizations require more than the automation of existing server administration tasks that traditional products provide, he said.

"If enterprises are to keep up with the relentless growth in demand for data center services while keeping costs under control, they need a comprehensive and automated way to control applications, virtual machines, servers and storage," Hagerman said. "The Application Director works with physical and virtual components within a system equally well."

With Veritas Server Foundation and its new features, Symantec now claims to be the only provider of an integrated infrastructure software solution that delivers capabilities in backup, storage management, server management and application performance management across a heterogeneous data center.

Application Director leverages elements of its core clustering technology to enable customers to define an applications run-time requirements, such as its CPU and memory needs, network and storage connectivity, dependencies across internal application components and tiers, and its business priority.

Symantec releases the beta version of its newest security software. Click here to read more.

Users can then create and enforce policies based on those requirements to control when and where applications run across physical and virtual environments, enabling them to maximize server utilization, increase application availability and flexibly respond to changes in application workloads.

Application Director currently supports Solaris Zones from Sun, VMware ESX server from EMC and AIX Micro-partitions from IBM; Symantec plans to aggressively extend this coverage to support all major virtual machine platforms across all major operating systems, Hagerman said.

Next Page: Patch Manager aims to simplify system updates.

Page 3

The new Patch Manager provides centralized control of patch servers and applications across operating systems, Hagerman said. It automatically performs scanning and assessment, examining the current patch footprint in each application or OS and comparing it to available patches using policy-based rules to automatically manage updates.

The upgraded Configuration Manager discovers all servers, applications, and complex dependencies among them, and tracks any changes in real time. This enables users to gain control over configuration changes to improve application availability and ensure configuration compliance to internal standards, Hagerman said.

The new version of Provisioning Manager automates the provisioning of operating systems, applications and network personalization settings.

Pricing and Availability

Veritas Server Foundation is available now, Hagerman said. Licensing fees start at $300 per CPU for each managed server. All Server Foundation components can be purchased separately or as part of a Server Foundation bundle, he said.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

Rocket Fuel