Legato Upgrades on the Way

EMC buyout won't affect update plans.

Legato Systems Inc. plans to upgrade several products later this year and next year, separate from its pending acquisition by and integration with EMC Corp., officials said recently.

EMC announced the $1.3 billion buyout last month; it is slated to close by years end. The flagship Legato Networker backup software will gain new features tailored for EMCs storage and ControlCenter software, with other Legato products remaining hardware-agnostic, officials said.

Legatos own plans focus on tape and library management, middleware for object-based storage, a partnership with IBM, and the use of standards-based code for more interoperability, Chief Technology Officer George Symons said.

AlphaStor, Legatos software for tape and library management, in the first half of next year will also be able to control tape devices linked to DiskXtender, which conducts HSM (hierarchical storage management). HSM intelligently moves lower-priority data to less costly storage, freeing up primary capacity. By doing so via AlphaStor, users can now have primary and HSM data sharing parts of the same library.

Legato, of Mountain View, Calif., is also building a backup gateway for EMCs Centera product. Centera uses object-based software and inexpensive desktop-class drives to store data that is frequently accessed but rarely changes, doing so much faster than tapes could. The gateway, essentially middleware, is suited for snapshot functions and is based on lessons learned from Legatos own Centera ports, which were troublesome, Symons said earlier this year. Its overlap with EMCs current Centera Application Gateway, from Storigen Systems Inc., in Lowell, Mass., remains unclear.

Legatos 12-Month Road Map

  • Asset management for HSM
  • Snapshot middleware for EMCs Centera
  • IBM to resell clustering software
  • Networker due for standards support
Legato also plans to soon enter a resale agreement with IBM, which has a good relationship with EMC, said Joe Tucci, EMCs president and CEO. In that deal, IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., will sell Legatos replication software, called RepliStor, and high-availability software, known as Co-StandbyServer AAdvanced. IBM officials were not available for comment.

Also, Legatos Symons shed light on Networker. Regarding the evolving Storage Management Initiative 1.0, which is a de facto management standard due for completion by the Storage Networking Industry Association late this year, "were looking more towards the middle of next year to put out a commercial product with it. Its targeted around using SMI for snapshot interfaces," he said.

EMC officials recently announced SMI support for the high-end Symmetrix and midrange Clariion storage families, due by the end of this year. But the SNIA specification has had its share of bugs, and many vendors said they plan to wait for Version 1.1, due in early to mid-2004.

David Herrmann, Novell systems network and backup system administrator at Delta Faucet Co., in Indianapolis, recently switched from IBM storage to an EMC Clariion system. Legatos software works well for Unix but could use more support for Intel Corp. and Windows environments, including tape booting, Herrmann said. Regarding the merger, he said, "We hope things will work to our benefit as we move forward and expand."