By Dave Simpson
Taking its first steps toward what the company refers to as "utility computing," Veritas last month introduced its OpForce 3.0 server provisioning software. The package is the first to come out of the acquisition of Jareva Technologies and is Veritas' first foray beyond its storage-centric roots.
Similar to storage provisioning, server provisioning software allows IT administrators to automatically provision servers and, in the case of OpForce, other network resources such as Ethernet switches and load-balancing servers/software. The advantage to end users is reduced time, costs, and resources compared to the traditional method of manually provisioning servers.
Veritas officials claim that OpForce can cut server provisioning time by as much as 10x. According to Marty Ward, director of product marketing at Veritas, tasks that might have taken four to six hours manually can be accomplished in less than 15 minutes with OpForce.
Another potential benefit of server provisioning is better utilization of server resources. The Forrester Group research firm estimates that average server utilization rarely exceeds 20%. Server provisioning software allows administrators to automatically re-allocate under-utilized servers.
Although OpForce 3.0 is tightly integrated with Veritas' Volume Manager and File System, it is not integrated with any of Veritas' other software products, which analysts say will be the key challenge in achieving "utility computing." However, Ward says that Veritas plans to integrate OpForce with all of its storage management software, including SANPoint Control, in the future.
Ward broadly defines utility computing as "a way of integrating software and hardware in an IT data center in order to turn it into a value center as opposed to a cost center." The next step toward achieving its goal of utility computing (which was the dominant theme of the Veritas Vision user conference earlier this year) will be integration of the products that Veritas acquired from Precise Software, according to Ward. In addition to a storage resource management (SRM) suite, the Precise software includes application performance management (APM) software. According to analysts, full integration of Veritas' existing and acquired products may take years.
Veritas' moves beyond storage will put the company in more-intense competition with vendors such as Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun.
OpForce supports Windows, Solaris, AIX, and Red Hat Linux. Pricing starts at $7,500 and $500 per host server and managed server, respectively.