By Heidi Biggar
With Dell, IBM, Intel, and Oracle at its side, Veritas Software this summer set its Linux strategy in motion for enterprise computing-a market Veritas and other storage vendors believe is now ripe with opportunity.
"We're seeing broad adoption of Linux in enterprise computing environments, [and we expect to see] a parallel movement on the storage side," says Kevin Reinis, vice president of strategic alliances and business development at Veritas.
Veritas recently expanded Linux support to its Cluster Server and ServPoint NAS software. (The company brought Linux support to NetBackup in 1999 and to Foundation Suite earlier this year.)
Analysts predict a significant increase in Linux server adoption this year. For example, International Data Corp. has called 2002 a breakout year for Linux and expects Linux servers to surpass Unix server shipments next year (see figure). In addition, Giga Information Group expects the Linux server market to jump from $2.5 billion in 2002 to $15 billion in 2007.
With reliability, compatibility, and scalability issues now addressed by some versions of the open-source operating system, end users are increasingly willing to migrate Unix-and even Windows-applications to Linux to reduce IT expenses, including storage.
Walter Nelson, senior manager of corporate systems at Amazon.com, says he has seen a significant reduction in licensing and maintenance fees, as well as staffing and training expenses, since migrating to Linux. Amazon.com embarked on its Linux restructuring project in January 2001. "Veritas' announcement [helped] put Linux on equal footing with other operating systems," according to Nelson. "It gives us more choices, and it adds to the viability of the operating system."
Similarly, Bill Watson, manager of system administration for The Weather Channel, plans to begin migrating applications to Linux to save money. He says that any concerns he had with the operating system's reliability and compatibility were addressed with the release of Red Hat Advanced Server. Watson says that Veritas' decision to port its clustering software and network- attached storage (NAS) appliance software to Linux strengthens his case to upper management for making the switch. The Weather Channel, which generates about 4TB to 5TB of new data each day, is in the process of migrating one major application from Solaris to Linux.
Giga analyst Stacey Quandt says that the price/performance benefits of a Linux infrastructure are most often realized by either migrating applications currently running on x86-based servers, or by consolidating workloads on an IBM mainframe.
Veritas' Linux software has been certified with IBM's Intel-based xSeries and Dell PowerEdge servers running Red Hat Advanced Server 2.1. Veritas plans to work with other companies to develop Linux solutions, embed Linux within fabrics, and distribute integrated Linux solutions. The company also plans to support IBM zSeries mainframes, Oracle 9i RAC, and Veritas SANPoint Control.