Veritas Upgrades Backup, Clustering Apps

NetBackup Pro 3.5 faster on Windows; Cluster Server 2.0 adds AIX support.

High-availability specialist Veritas Software Corp. this week will roll out an updated version of its backup software that will support a greater number of operating systems and will have new security components.

NetBackup Pro 3.5 also will be faster than previous versions when running on Microsoft Corp.s Windows platform.

The upgraded backup software comes a week after the Mountain View, Calif., company introduced a new version of its clustering product.

Cluster Server 2.0 adds to the existing version a new workload management approach. Rather than just fail over to a server with few applications running on it, Version 2.0 first analyzes application load and capacity load, a company spokesman said.

Web- and Java-based management is also new, along with user privileges that vary from the application to the cluster level and the ability for a cluster to move itself to a higher-performance server during peak load times, officials said.

By the middle of next year, Cluster Server will add support for the AIX and Linux operating systems. Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris and Microsofts Windows 2000 are currently supported. Cluster Server 2.0 is available now, starting at $6,000 per server.

The updated products are important, industry watchers say, because functions such as clustering and data backup are often provided from storage and application makers directly, which limits interoperability and choice. Innovation coming from a more objective company such as Veritas is a healthy sign, they say.

"Unfortunately, the term cluster has been used in so many ways that its largely meaningless now," said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. However, "this release comes as close as theyve ever come," Kusnetzky said.

With 2.0, Cluster Server is just beginning to become a true clustering solution, as opposed to just parallel processing or load balancing, Kusnetzky said. He added that the only potential downside is that users could become locked in once theyve tailored applications to Veritas.

Market confusion also could force Veritas to compete with software that doesnt actually do what Cluster Server does.

Southwest Gas Corp. has been using Cluster Server 1.0 since 1999 after a gas trading system failed on a Sunday and was down for 24 hours. Hundreds of thousands of dollars could be lost if that happens again, said one official with the Las Vegas utility.

"Its the most critical application we have," said Tim Henry, manager of corporate computing and systems management. But, "the real-world, day-to-day use of this product is for maintenance," Henry said.