Symantec Touts New Server, Storage Foundations as IT Standards

At its Vision conference, Symantec rolls out a Data Center Foundation to replace the various IT infrastructure management wares that come with servers and storage.

SAN FRANCISCO—Symantec executives and customers extolled the virtue of "standards" on May 9 at the Symantec Vision conference here, as the company introduced its bid to provide that standard, a soup-to-nuts integrated process solution for the data center.

Dubbed the Data Center Foundation, the package includes four families of products: Veritas NetBackup, Veritas Storage Foundation, Veritas Server Foundation and Veritas i3 application performance management tools.

These products span backup and remote replication of data; storage management; server provisioning and management functions; and application performance tuning and analysis.

Some of the pieces introduced May 9 were updates of existing products. Version 5.0 of Veritas Storage Foundation, which provides new capabilities for data replication, managing storage resources and optimizing performance, is due in the third quarter of 2006.

Version 5.0 will provide a management server for storage across an enterprise, and a centralized console with which to handle instances of Storage Foundation Versions 4 and 5.

A feature of Storage Foundation 5.0 will be Dynamic Multipathing, a storage discovery and management tool that lets users perform a variety of tasks including load balancing of HBAs (host bus adapters) and applying firmware upgrades.

/zimages/6/28571.gifAt the Symantec Vision conference keynote, Symantec customers want meatier answers about product support, encryption and identity management. Click here to read more.

Version 5.0 also provides a new dynamic tiering capability that can automatically move files between storage resources based on date, owner, size or name. The policies are centrally managed and transparently support heterogeneous servers and storage infrastructure, the company said.

Veritas Storage Foundation Basic is a new product, according to Kris Hagerman, senior vice president of Symantecs data center management group. A free version of the storage management application, Storage Foundation Basic is available for download now.

The product offers the Veritas File System and Volume Manager modules as well as the Dynamic Multipathing tool from Storage Foundation 5.0, and is aimed at edge-tier applications such as Web or e-mail servers. The software supports Solars 10 x64 and several Linux distros.

Hagerman said Symantec wasnt concerned about cannibalizing its business, because customers use Storage Foundation on higher-end servers running mission critical workloads, such as databases.

"We do a great job in the data center for high-end, back-end applications. But that leaves hundreds and hundreds of thousands of servers that customers would like to run our product on—to get [Storage Foundations] common view across their entire environment and take an active control over. But because theres not a lot of storage behind it or a lot of horsepower in the box, putting one of our foundation or provision products didnt make economic sense.

"Now, weve made it compelling for customers to put it on across the entire data center, every single server," he said.

Symantec also packed several server management applications under a Veritas Server Foundation branding. The new product family includes Veritas Configuration Manager (formerly Relicore Clarity) and Veritas Provisioning Manager (formerly OpForce), as well as the Veritas Cluster Server.

The updated Cluster Server can monitor local and remote clusters in a single Web-based console, the company said. It also offers Fire Drill, a virtualized test of disaster recovery resources that allows customers to automatically test disaster recovery systems in their currently running environments with little disruption, Hagerman said.

"The process of testing DR plans is so risky, most places dont test it. As a result, we have DR plans that youre depending [on] … but were too afraid to test it and so youre exposed," he said.

In addition, officials said, Symantec will work toward a common interface for the products and an integration platform that will offer APIs for business analysis tools, directory services and federated identity, among other functions.

Symantecs "standards" pitch urges IT managers to replace the many configuration and management products that come with the usual heterogeneous hardware infrastructure with its Foundation products.

According to Hagerman, Veritas heritage of cross-platform support lets the Foundation products interoperate with "every major" operating system platform, storage vendor, database, middleware vendor and enterprise application.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Symantecs efforts to deal with customer questions and extend security protection beyond the infrastructure.

"When we talk about creating a standard, we mean the ability to have a single layer of infrastructure software that works with everything," Hagerman said. "We have a whole set of partnerships with all the leading industry players to ensure that our products are interoperable, and tight support relationships even with vendors we compete with a bit."

Tad Lebeck, vice president of data center strategy for Symantec, agreed, pointing to Symantecs position in the market.

"Ultimately, users look for solutions. If theres a lack of solutions, they seek standards, because they cant figure out how to get there. If Symantec can deliver solutions to make their work easier—theres a standard," he said.

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