Symantec integrates management suites

By Dave Simpson

At its annual Vision conference for customers and partners last month, Symantec did not introduce many new storage products, but the company did announce the completion of an integration project that covers both existing and enhanced products. The company’s Data Center Foundation (DCF) combines Veritas NetBackup (which now includes CommandCentral Service), Storage Foundation, i3 application performance management (APM) tools, and the newer Server Foundation software.

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However, although integrating various management suites is a benefit for IT managers, Symantec still has work to do to fully integrate all its management suites-as do all of its competitors, according to analysts.

“The DCF suites have a similar look and feel from a dashboard console perspective, but they’re not truly integrated in the sense that they all share the same database so that you’re pulling from a single database when you generate reports,” says Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance at The Clipper Group consulting firm. “Symantec isn’t there yet, although it’s on their road map, as it is with all their competitors’. All the big vendors are struggling with this because of all the acquisitions.”

But some users think that Symantec is doing a better job than some of its competitors in the area of integration. “Both Veritas and Symantec have made a lot of acquisitions, but the company has done a very good job-compared to some of its competitors-at integration,” says Brad Wood, senior director of enterprise technology at Corrections Corporation of America, a provider of services for correctional institutions.

Symantec’s pitch is for users to standardize on the company’s software for virtually all aspects of management in the data center-including applications, databases, servers, and storage platforms-to reduce the cost and complexity of managing heterogeneous environments.

Analysts note that it’s a bold move because it would require users to move away from the general practice of choosing “best-of-breed” products from multiple vendors. (Of course, Symantec executives counter-argue that their products are, in fact, “best of breed.”)

“In an ideal world we’d have industry standards-as opposed to standardization on one vendor’s products-so IT managers could choose whatever software products they want, but we’re a long way away from that despite the SMI-S management standard,” says McAdam.

Data Center Foundation supports virtually all operating systems, and Symantec claims to support storage arrays from EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Network Appliance, Sun, and other vendors. The DCF suite has also been optimized for specific applications such as Oracle, DB2, Sybase, SAP, Oracle Applications, BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and other applications.

Symantec also introduced the 5.0 version of its Storage Foundation software for storage management and virtualization, which includes Veritas Volume Manager, File System, and CommandCentral Storage. New features in the 5.0 version include enhanced centralized management and virtualization capabilities, as well as broader support for specific applications and databases, and the addition of Storage Foundation Management Server, a Web-based tool for centralized multi-host management and data migration.

In addition, Storage Foundation 5.0 includes functions such as Dynamic Storage Tiering (DST), Dynamic Multi-Pathing (DMP), and Volume Replicator. Symantec also added Veritas CommandCentral Storage to the Storage Foundation 5.0 suite.

Storage Foundation 5.0 will be released in the next quarter. In a departure from Symantec’s practice of phasing in support for various operating systems, Storage Foundation 5.0 will be released for all supported operating systems simultaneously.

In another departure from its standard practices, Symantec released a free downloadable version of the software, dubbed Veritas Storage Foundation Basic, which is designed for sites that do not exceed four volumes, four file systems, and/or two processors in a single physical system. Support is optional.

The new Veritas Server Foundation software combines server configuration management, provisioning, and clustering and is based on Veritas Configuration Manager (which in turn, is based on software that Symantec acquired from Relicore), Provisioning Manager (formerly called OpForce), and an enhanced version of Cluster Server.

Symantec’s server management capabilities may give the company an edge over some of its more storage-centric competitors. “Symantec has a lot of heterogeneous server management features, as well as provisioning, clustering, etc., so they may have a leg up on their competitors in that space,” says McAdam.

Finally, Symantec introduced Veritas NetBackup 6.0 PureDisk Remote Office Edition software, which is a disk-based backup-and-recovery platform for backing up remote offices (see Symantec tackles branch office backup, InfoStor, May 2006, p. 11).

This article was originally published on June 01, 2006