Veritas adds virtualization

By Heidi Biggar

While vendors like DataCore and TrueSAN grapple with storage management from the ground-level up, industry leader Veritas Software is tackling the issue at a different-some might say higher-level.

"While a lot of start-ups might be ahead of Veritas in terms of policy management and virtualization, despite Veritas' recent virtualization announcement, they don't have the overall depth of product or mind share that Veritas has," says Steve Kenniston, an analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group, in Milford, MA. "This buys Veritas some time to round out its picture."

Taking steps in that direction, Veritas last month formally unveiled its virtualization strategy for networked storage environments. Essentially, Veritas moved its host-based virtualization capability for direct-attached storage (DAS) into the network where it can manage networked storage.

"We see the intelligence moving into the network," says Ruth Colombo, senior manager of product marketing at Veritas. "ServPoint is our first real off-host entry in this market."

The ServPoint software can be used with Veritas' existing family of host-based data management, availability, file system, and volume management products (see figure).

In addition to selling the software separately, Veritas is working with partners like Sun to deliver integrated hardware/software products to end users. The two are in beta with ServPoint storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) appliances.

The ServPoint SAN appliance aggregates and provisions block data within the SAN; the NAS appliance provides shared file access to CIFS and NFS clients. The two products can also be used together. In this scenario, ServPoint SAN not only pools storage resources and provisions block-level data up to applications, but it also provisions storage capacity to the ServPoint NAS server (see figure).

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"This allows you to take your available storage and provision it out to different applications-one of which just happens to be a shared-file storage manager [i.e., ServPoint NAS]," explains Colombo. "So, instead of buying a second NAS filer that has DAS, you can provision storage from the pooled SAN storage to the ServPoint NAS server." This simplifies storage management, lowers total cost of ownership, and allows users to more easily scale storage resources, according to Colombo.

Is this the virtualization announcement we've been waiting for from Veritas? "It's not the complete announcement," says Kenniston, "but they're headed in the right direction." Kenniston points to the software's current lack of support for HP-UX and IBM-AIX as one issue. "It makes sense that they started with Solaris because that's Veritas' largest installed base, but they need to port to HP-UX and IBM-AIX." The software supports 2Gbps Fibre Channel, FCP, and iSCSI and works with virtually anyone's disk storage.

Veritas will compete against companies like DataCore, FalconStor, Hewlett-Packard, and others on the virtualization front, and primarily with vendors such as EMC and Network Appliance on the NAS side.

As for plans to integrate its growing family of storage management products, Veritas won't say how or when, just that it's taking steps in that direction.

Pricing for ServPoint SAN software and ServPoint NAS starts at $25,000 and $3,000, respectively.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2002