Veritas bolsters storage management

Improvements in clustering and data sharing


Building on the discovery, management, and virtualization features of its SANPoint Control software, Veritas Software last month introduced the SANPoint Foundation Suite HA, adding clustered file sharing and volume management to its storage area network (SAN) toolset. The suite, which runs only on Solaris platforms, will be released for other platforms in the future.

Essentially, SANPoint Control manages the underlying heterogeneous SAN devices and storage, while SANPoint Foundation provides users with concurrent, shared access to data stored on those devices, explains Robert Soderbery, senior product marketing manager, Veritas Foundations Product Division. "It provides a single, integrated file system and file pool so that users can manage and share data regardless of physical location," says Soderbery.

The software enables multiple servers to share data, with concurrent access to a single file system. Advantages include independent scaling of servers and storage as well as fast fail-over. According to Veritas officials, fail-over occurs in seconds, compared to minutes for more traditional clustering techniques.

SANPoint Foundation Suite enables clustering, file sharing, and data management.
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"This is the holy grail for a SAN operating system," says Richard Lee, president of Data Storage Technologies, a consulting firm in Ridgewood, NJ. "They can distribute the suite over many nodes and operating systems, with seamless fail-over and without losing data. This allows them to create a true SAN file system that will support a true heterogeneous world."

Lee also believes that Veritas' ability to trump Compaq, IBM, and others with this technology is viable, given the vendor's core strengths in Solaris, NT, and HP-UX.

The suite consists of three integrated stacks: Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) for high availability, Cluster File System (CFS) for shared file access, and Cluster Volume Manager (CVM) for shared storage access. The Cluster Server takes charge of clustering and fail-over and provides messaging services to the Cluster File System. The file system and volume manager layers provide transparent file and volume sharing (see diagram on p. 1).

Combined, these technologies enable

  • Concurrent access to shared files.Access to shared files by multiple servers is transparent and seamless. Benefits include greater manageability and improved storage consolidation.
  • File-system integrity in a shared environment. Access to file systems is controlled by a global lock manager, which manages cache coherence and locking for a single view of files. Benefits include improved scalability and performance in high-availability environments.
  • Faster application fail-over. Fail-over is enabled by Veritas Cluster Server. Benefits include improved availability.
  • Cluster-wide management of SAN data. Data management is simplified through cluster-wide logical device naming, volume, and file-system operations.

Recognizing that some users may not need the full-function suite, Veritas says it will release a scaled-down, or "lite," version with full file-sharing functionality but limited VCS capability. A release date has not yet been determined.

It is priced at $15,300 per node and is currently available. Target markets include traditional e-business and IT applications such as billing and telco processing, off-host processing, and Web serving.

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This article was originally published on February 01, 2001