Tools Treat Storage as a Utility

New products and features from Veritas, Softek and Sun will help customers turn data centers into operational storage utilities, which the companies say will improve performance and management of resources, and will lower costs.

Veritas Software Corp., Softek and Sun Microsystems Inc. are each aiming to help customers turn data centers into operational storage utilities through several new storage utilization features and products.

The result, according to the companies, should be better management of resources, improved performance and lower costs.

Veritas this week will announce the availability of Veritas Storage Foundation 4.0. The rebranded storage management and virtualization software, formerly called Foundation Suite, features a host of enhancements built around Veritas Volume Manager and Veritas File System to simplify control of mixed storage environments, officials said.

Veritas user Aaron Huslage said Storage Foundation 4.0 will provide a steppingstone that advances utility computing projects at his company, CNF Service Co.

One new feature of Storage Foundation 4.0, Quality of Storage Service, automatically transfers rarely accessed or unimportant files to inexpensive storage arrays. Huslage, senior system administrator at CNF, said the feature will be crucial for moving data from large Hitachi Ltd. storage systems to Network Appliance Inc.s NearStor systems.

"We run a lot of databases that have a lot of archived data in them, and weve been trying to figure out the best way to keep that online without eating up our large, high-performance disk," said Huslage, in Palo Alto, Calif. "So that [feature] fits in very well."

A new Portable Data Containers capability in 4.0 allows data sharing among different operating systems to foster heterogeneity without creating multiple copies of data. Sharing data across storage devices from different vendors is being facilitated by those vendors creation of new APIs for interoperability, said Veritas CEO Gary Bloom, in an interview here at Veritas headquarters.

"One thing the customer doesnt want is hardware vendor lock-in," said Bloom. "They dont want to return to a scenario under which they belong to a hardware vendor. Our technology helps insulate them from that, so its an insurance policy."

Softek, whose software works in heterogeneous environments, is trying to make itself the de facto storage management platform of choice for users. To do that, the Fujitsu Ltd. business units software plugs into a variety of backup and network management products as well as storage devices.

Softek last week introduced new features for its Softek Storage Manager and Softek SANView products. Those features include increased file system scalability and scanning, enhanced scheduling and a master console to aggregate information across multiple servers. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company will roll out in the coming months new modules that include Performance Management, Regulatory Compliance and Email Solutions.

Some hardware vendors, however, are getting the message that partnering could dissipate the vendor lock-in stigma.

Sun this week will unveil a partnership with AppIQ Inc., of Burlington, Mass., to license technology from the storage management software vendor and co-develop new technology. Fruits of that development should appear in the second half of this year, said Sun officials in Santa Clara, Calif.

Sun will integrate its StorEdge Enterprise Storage Management framework with AppIQs Storage Authority Suite. The company will also take advantage of AppIQs implementation of the Storage Management Initiative and Common Information Model standards.