Is ASA Veritas' answer to EMC's Auto IS?

By Heidi Biggar

At its annual Vision conference this week, Veritas Software took the wraps off its new software strategy, and in doing so raised more than a few industry eyebrows. Bearing a resemblance to EMC's Auto IS, Veritas' Adaptive Software Architecture may be the company's long-awaited response to EMC's storage management strategy, according to some analysts.

"You have to put Veritas' announcement in context with what's going on in the industry today," says John Webster, senior analyst and founder of the Data Mobility Group, a storage market research and consulting firm in Londonderry, NH. "If you believe Auto IS is aimed squarely at Veritas, then this is Veritas' rejoinder."

Webster says that Veritas' announcement may also be indicative of the company's plans to push its platform, not the Common Interface Model (CIM) being developed by the Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) and the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), as the de facto management standard. Veritas, however, did participate in a SNIA-sponsored CIM/Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) demonstration last month.

Last September, EMC abandoned its "walled garden" management style in favor of Auto IS, its self-described automated, open architecture. The premise is simple: By automating key processes and simplifying the networked infrastructure, EMC believes it can significantly increase the amount of storage administrators can manage. The initiative's success hinges on EMC's ability to garner widespread support for its WideSky API initiative.

Veritas officials say that more than 35 hardware and software vendors have signed up for its API program (a.k.a. Veritas Enabled), including all the major systems vendors. The company is also working with a variety of start-ups (e.g., MaXXan Systems) as part of its Powered program to ease the migration to new technologies, and with Cisco on an undisclosed joint venture. (MaXXan Systems will reportedly deploy Veritas' virtualization technology directly from its forthcoming storage network platform.)

Veritas claims its breadth of partners is unequaled in the industry, putting them in a unique position to support virtually all operating systems, devices, applications, databases, and networking topologies.

Separately, Veritas also announced support for IBM-AIX, a long-standing hole in the company's support matrix. The support extends to Veritas' full suite of management products, including its Foundation Suite, Cluster Server, Volume Replicator, FlashSnap, and Database Editions for Oracle and DB2 products.

Later this year, Veritas is expected to integrate new capabilities into its product line, including a much-anticipated Global Operations Management tool. This feature will reportedly enable users to manage a variety of applications and storage devices via a single management interface. Other planned features include adaptive workload management and virtual backup.

The idea behind these technologies is to put end users in the driver's seat, enabling them to truly be their own storage architects, explains Prashant Dholakia, senior vice president, availability products, at Veritas. "We do that by putting users in control of how they want to grow and scale their storage networks."

In a variety of surveys, interoperability and management are consistently ranked by end users as key issues with today's storage networking environments. While vendors agree that the answer to this problem is consolidated management through a single console, they say that actually getting there won't be easy ( see Users demand openness, vendors respond). Veritas' Adaptive Software Architecture is just one more step in that direction.

This article was originally published on May 01, 2002